The story of those two women lost at sea is looking awfully fishy

Since it’s Halloween I figure it’s as a good a day as any for some spooky mysteries. Earlier today we looked at the Danish submarine murder mystery, but now there’s another story of adventures on the high seas which seems to be falling apart. This one has to do with the two women from Hawaii, Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava, who were supposedly lost at sea for months on end before finally being rescued last week. It was an epic tale of survival at sea and the stalwart spirit of mariners who defy the odds and make it through.

Or was it? Under further questioning, large parts of their story are starting to look very suspicious. The Associated Press has one of the biggest red flags today which should have everyone wondering. The women failed to report that that had a functional distress signal with them the whole time but never decided to use it.

Two Hawaii women who say they were lost at sea on a sailboat for months never activated their emergency beacon, the U.S. Coast Guard said, adding to a growing list of inconsistencies that cast doubt on their harrowing tale of survival.

The women previously told The Associated Press that they had radios, satellite phones, GPS and other emergency gear, but they didn’t mention the Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, or EPIRB.

A Coast Guard review of the incident and subsequent interviews with the women revealed that they had an EPIRB aboard their boat but never turned it on.

As I said, the failure to activate the emergency beacon for all those months is only one of the seriously fishy things about this tale. Go back and compare some of these new details to the story we were told when they were first rescued. At that time they reported that they had, “attempted daily to communicate with the outside world.” They also said they were probably within a day or two of giving up all hope and becoming resigned to their fate. Now they’re saying that the beacon was only for use in an emergency and they were never in that much danger.

Right from the beginning the story is odd. The two women supposedly only met at the end of last year but took off on the voyage in May. Okay. Fair enough, I suppose. Maybe they just really hit it off or fell in love. Odd that they were both available to disappear on a lengthy sea cruise on such short notice, though.

In addition to tons of food and a water purifier, they had a cell phone, satellite phone, GPS, and a radio. The cell phone fell in the water and all the rest of the comms gear (except the beacon they didn’t mention) mysteriously failed on them. Again… possible, perhaps, but the odds against that many simultaneous failures are astronomical.

The account of the ocean voyage is full of holes. Appel reports that on their first day at sea they ran into a massive storm that lasted for three days, damaging the ship and throwing them off course. Meteorological records and satellite data show no such storm. They supposedly passed Maui and Lanai but they didn’t have any ports suitable for their 50′ sailboat, named the Sea Nymph. Preposterous.

They reached Christmas Island which they said was mostly uninhabited and also didn’t have a suitable harbor. Cruise ships regularly dock there. Then, despite having such an allegedly badly damaged vessel, they made the decision to sail for the Cook Islands more than 1,000 miles away. On top of all that, the Coast Guard checked their records and they contacted a vessel identifying itself as the Sea Nymph in June but were told everything was fine and they expected to make landfall the next day.

Look, I’m glad the women are okay but… are you kidding me? While this is purely speculation on my part, this sounds like a load of nonsense. And if so, what was the motivation for this stunt? Were they expecting their story to become the basis for a book or movie deal and land them a bunch of money? Were they on the run and hiding from someone while they were “lost at sea” for all these months?

None of this makes any sense, but I’d bet you dollars to pumpkin spice donuts that this will turn out to be something very different than the tale of high seas heroics we were originally told. And aside from some sort of group insanity, none of the possibilities which come to mind are very flattering to these sailors.