Two Stranded Sailors and Their Dogs Were Rescued After Five Months in Shark-Filled Waters

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay

What was supposed to be a boat trip to Tahiti for sailors Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava turned into an ordeal of nearly five months spent adrift in the Pacific. But the two survived to tell the tale. They were finally rescued by the United States Navy on Wednesday, October 25, along with their two dogs, Gizmodo reports.

Appel and Fuiava—who are both from Hawaii—left Honolulu for Tahiti on May 3, a journey of more than 2700 miles as the crow flies. Shortly after launch, rough weather caused their engine to fail, but the two women decided to continue the trip by sailing. At some point, the vessel lost a mast, and the two couldn't call for help, as their phone had fallen overboard. After around two months at sea, the sailors began sending out futile distress calls while subsisting on a year's supply of dry food stored on their boat.

Sharks attacked the weakened vessel at night. It was "very depressing, and it was very hopeless," Appel told media outlets after her rescue, according to Gizmodo.

Luckily, a Taiwanese fishing vessel eventually spotted their boat as it drifted about 900 miles southeast of Japan, and its sailors contacted the U.S. Coast Guard in Guam. Navy ship USS Ashland arrived the next morning, and crew brought Appel, Fuiava, and their furry friends on board.

Tasha Fuiaba, an American mariner who had been sailing for five months on a damaged sailboat, climbs the accommodation ladder to board the USS Ashland.
Tasha Fuiaba, an American mariner who had been sailing for five months on a damaged sailboat, climbs the accommodation ladder to board the USS Ashland.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay

Sailors help Zeus, one of two dogs who were aided by the ship USS Ashland.
Sailors help Zeus, one of two dogs who were aided by the ship USS Ashland.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay

Command Master Chief Gary Wise welcomes aboard Jennifer Appel.
Command Master Chief Gary Wise welcomes aboard Jennifer Appel.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay

Appel and Fuiava received food and medical care, and will remain on board until the Ashland's next port of call.

"They saved our lives," Appel said in a statement. "The pride and smiles we had when we saw [the navy] on the horizon was pure relief."

Watch a video of their rescue below:

[h/t Gizmodo]

You Can Buy an Extinct Volcano in Devon, England, for $60,000

People buy private islands, so why not buy a private volcano? Posbury Clump, a 250-million-year-old inactive volcano located in Devon, England, could be yours for the seemingly reasonable price of about $60,0000.

As Smithsonian reports, the volcano is 500 feet tall at its peak and surrounded by 4.9 acres of woodland (holly, oak, and ash trees), so you get sweeping views of the English countryside. The wooded outcrop and rolling hills make Posbury Clump look less like a volcano and more like a forest. Architects used the basalt stone from a former on-site quarry to build two of the area's most famous structures: Crediton Church and Medland Manor.

Because of its unique potassium-rich lava and other rare geological features, Posbury Clump has been designated a site of scientific interest, and as such has been formally marked for conservation.

Currently, only a few houses reside in the area, but Posbury—settled during the Iron Age, between about 800 BCE and AD 100—once housed convent Posbury St Francis, which was a part of the Posbury Clump estate. Those interested in possibly purchasing the volcano can contact agent Jackson-Stops. The cost is £50,000, or around $60,800, which is about what you'd pay to rent a studio apartment in New York City's Tribeca neighborhood for one year.

Just remember: If you do buy the volcano, you won't be the first person to purchase such a thing. According to Atlas Obscura, famed cartoonist-turned-oddities-collector Robert Ripley tried to purchase Parícutin (a baby volcano that suddenly sprung up from a cornfield in Mexico) in 1943, but was beaten to the punch by muralist Gerardo Murillo. Several individuals have privately owned New Zealand's active Whakaari volcano, and people privately own volcanoes in California and Oregon, too.

Reality Bites: A Humongous Tick That Chases Its Prey Has Been Found in the Netherlands

ironman100/iStock via Getty Images
ironman100/iStock via Getty Images

Humans have long been discouraged from tolerating the parasitic behavior of the tick. These pathogen-ridden arachnids latch onto their hosts for a blood buffet while transmitting a variety of diseases through their bites. Typically, ticks in infested areas wait for their hosts to stand or pass by and hope a bare leg presents itself.

But not all ticks are so passive. In the Netherlands, there have been reported sightings of Hyalomma marginatum, a kind of Andre the Giant of ticks that are twice the size of a more common species, Ixodes ricinus (sheep tick). Worse, they don’t sit idle. If they want to bite you, they’ll run after you.

The non-native species has been spotted twice in the past month. One was in Drenthe, a province in the northeastern part of the country, and the other was found in Achterhoek. They measure up to 0.2 inches but can grow to 0.7 inches when engorged with the blood of their hosts. The ticks are known to hide in brush. When they spot a potential meal, they run toward it. H. marginatum can detect a victim from up to 30 feet away and track it for 10 minutes before abandoning pursuit.

The species is typically found in northern Africa and Asia as well as parts of southern and eastern Europe. How did they get to the Netherlands? Researchers theorize they hitchhiked on migratory birds. And while their appearances have been scarce, they’re still a cause for concern. H. marginatum is known to harbor the virus that causes Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, which lists uncontrolled bleeding among its undesirable symptoms. The ticks, which were collected for analysis, tested negative for that disease but one was positive for the bacteria Rickettsia aeschlimannii, which causes spotted fever.

There have been no sightings of H. marginatum in the U.S., but native ticks remain a perpetual concern. If you’re outdoors, it’s always a good idea to monitor yourself for ticks and take steps to remove them safely.

[h/t LiveScience]

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