2 Women Stranded at Sea Say They Were Twice Attacked by Sharks Before Rescue

One of the women also claims their boat was within 24 hours of sinking.

The two women who were lost at sea for five months are sharing the details of their harrowing ordeal that has captivated the nation.

"When I saw the grey boat on the edge of the horizon, my heart leapt because I knew we were going to be saved because I thought we were going to die in the next 24 hours," Jennifer Appel told Inside Edition. "We were left for dead." 

Their dogs, Zeus and Valentine, looked just as joyous as the women when the USS Ashland, a U.S. Navy ship, rescued them from certain death.

Appel and Tasha Fuiava had set out on May 3 from a harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii, on what was supposed to be a month-long 2,700-mile adventure to Tahiti.

But their engine died in a storm and the boat drifted helplessly in the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean.

They were twice attacked by tiger sharks that "taunted us." 

Their daily distress calls went unanswered, and commercial ships failed to see the flares they sent into the sky.

"When we kept calling for help and calling for help and no one showed up, it got very disappointing," Appel said. 

They lived off a year's supply of pasta and oatmeal and the Navy vessel came just in time. The boat was in such bad shape it could have sunk at any moment. 

"Zeus and Valentine were a big help," Fuiava said. When all hope was lost, the dogs gave them a reason to keep going. 

Appel is a businesswoman, actress, and adventurer. She says she built the boat herself and it was Fuiava's first-ever boat trip.

Describing their experience as a freak accident, Appel said the pair intends to set back out to sea once the boat is repaired.