HONOLULU -- Two women and their dogs have been rescued after being lost at sea for months while trying to sail from Hawaii to Tahiti.
The U.S. Navy rescued the women on Wednesday after a Taiwanese fishing vessel spotted them about 900 miles southeast of Japan, well off their planned course, and alerted the U.S. Coast Guard.
The USS Ashland arrived early the next day, the Navy said in a statement released Thursday.
The women, identified by the Navy as Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiaba, both of Honolulu, lost their engine in bad weather in late May but believed they could still reach Tahiti using their sails.
"They saved our lives," said Appel through the Navy release. "The pride and smiles we had when we saw (U.S. Navy) on the horizon was pure relief."
Two months into their trip, well after they were scheduled to arrive in Tahiti, the women began making distress calls, but there were no vessels close and they were too far out to sea for the signals to be detected on land.
They told the Navy that they survived because they had packed in a water purifier and enough food for a year, mostly dried goods like oatmeal and pasta.
A photo provided by the Navy shows Fuiaba smiling as a Navy sailor greets her dog, Zeus aboard the USS Ashland.
The women received a medical assessment, food and beds aboard the Navy ship, where they will remain until the next port of call, the Navy said.
"The U.S. Navy is postured to assist any distressed mariner of any nationality during any type of situation," said Cmdr. Steven Wasson, the commanding officer of the USS Ashland.
Navy rescues 2 women, dogs who were lost at sea for months