HONOLULU (AP) — Trapped on a storm-battered boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean for nearly six months, Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava were almost out of food and beginning to believe their luck had run out when they saw it: a U.S. Navy ship chugging toward them.

On Wednesday the pair boarded the USS Ashland looking remarkably fit for having been lost at sea since May. Crew members aboard a passing Taiwanese fishing boat spotted them and contacted the U.S. Navy.

They had left Honolulu on May 3 aboard Appel's 50-foot vessel the Sea Nymph for what was to be an 18-day journey to Tahiti, followed by months of leisurely cruising the South Pacific before returning home.

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Associated Press writers John Rogers in Los Angeles; Mark Thiessen and Rachel D'Oro in Anchorage, Alaska; Becky Bohrer in Juneau, Alaska; and Ken Moritsugu in Tokyo contributed to this story.