"You have no other choice", Appel said in a phone interview Thursday.
"It was actually quite mind-blowing and incredibly humbling", she told reporters during a conference call from the ship.
Appel described the situation prior to the rescue as "very depressing" and "very hopeless".
"I waited and waited and waited to see when I would hear from her".
"It was the most fantastic feeling because we honestly did not believe we would survive another 24 hours in the current situation". Much worse. About a month into their trip, bad weather caused their engine to lose power.
Their boat, deemed no longer seaworthy, was allowed to drift away after their rescue, although Appel says she hopes she might eventually retrieve and fix it.
On May 3, Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava set sail to Tahiti from their home in Hawaii, beginning a 2,700-mile-long journey that would take about a month. By the time they were rescued, they had eaten about 90 per cent of their food, Appel said. She credited the two dogs, which she called their companion animals, with keeping their spirits up.
"We learned that we love the ocean, that we can persevere past the limits of what we thought was tolerable", Appel says.
Then came the packs of tiger sharks, ramming into the side of their boat.
On Wednesday the pair, followed by their dogs, Zeus and Valentine, boarded the ship Ashland, all four looking remarkably fit for having been lost at sea for almost six months. Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava, and their two dogs, were found after setting off from Hawaii for Tahiti this spring.
"It was lucky our hull was strong enough to withstand the onslaught". They encountered what they said was a Force 11 storm - a classification for a violent storm with 37-52 foot waves - on their first night, which lasted for three days.
The women sent distress calls for 98 days and got nothing but silence back in return.
As they drifted thousands of kilometres in what turned out to be a five-month ordeal out in the middle of Pacific, the water purifier conked out and sharks started bumping the boat menacingly.
With hope fading and food running low, a passing Taiwanese fishing vessel spotted them Tuesday and arranged for their rescue.
The Navy released video footage of the rescuers reaching the stricken sailboat. They were adrift at sea with Appel's two dogs, Zeus and Valentine, cut off from the world.
Their boat was deemed "unseaworthy" and the pair and their dogs brought aboard the USS Ashland.
"I'm grateful for their service to our country". "They saved our lives. We had no idea what to expect, but when we saw that big grey ship coming it was just, relief".
Appel and Fuiava said they had no option but to carry on, so they tried to make the most of their time lost at sea.