An Australian sailor who was rescued by a Mexican tuna boat after three months at sea with his dog Bella is ‘grateful’ to be alive after stepping onto dry land for the first time since his ordeal began.
Timothy Lindsay Shaddock, 54, said he survived on ‘lots of sushi’ after falling off the fishing boat Maria Delia in the Mexican city of Manzanillo on Tuesday.
‘I feel fine. I feel a lot better than I did, I tell you,’ Shaddock, smiling, bearded and thin, told reporters at the docks in the port city, about 210 miles west of Mexico City.
‘To the captain and the fishing company that saved my life, I am very grateful. I’m alive and I really didn’t think I’d make it,’ said Shaddock, adding that both she and her ‘amazing’ dog Bella are doing well.
The Sydney man’s catamaran set sail from the Mexican city of La Paz for tropical French Polynesia in April, but was crippled by weeks of bad weather on the 3,700-mile journey.
Timothy Lindsay Shaddock, 54, has revealed he survived on ‘a lot of sushi’ after falling off a fishing boat in the Mexican city of Manzanillo on Tuesday that rescued him.
He said he last saw land in early May when he sailed out of the Sea of Cortez into the Pacific Ocean. It was full moon.
Shaddock describes himself as a quiet person who likes to be alone at sea. When asked why he had sailed from Mexico’s Baja Peninsula to cross the Pacific Ocean, Shaddock struggled to provide an explanation.
‘I’m not sure I have the answer, but I really enjoy sailing and I love the people of the sea,’ he said. ‘The people of the sea are what bring us all together. The ocean is between us. We are the ocean.’
Shaddock said he was well prepared, but a storm knocked out his electronics and ability to cook. He and Bella lived on raw fish.
‘It was more like chewing ‘sushi’,’ he joked of how ‘skinny’ he had become.
Shaddock said there were ‘many, many, many bad days’ at sea, but also good ones.
‘The energy, the fatigue is the hardest part,’ he said. He spent time getting things right and was positive about going into the water to ‘just enjoy being in the water’.
‘I would try and find happiness in myself, and I got so lonely at sea. I used to go in the water too, and I enjoyed being in the water.’
‘There were many, many, many bad days and many good days,’ he said.
Shaddock said he was well prepared, but a storm knocked out his electronics and ability to cook. He and Bella lived on raw fish
Shaddock and his dog Bella are seen on the fishing boat that rescued them at sea
Rescuers reach Shaddock’s disabled catamaran, where the sailor spent three months adrift after the vessel was disabled by storms
Shaddock said the tuna boat turned into his land and Bella immediately hit it off with the crew. After the rescue, the dog was seen playing with cards
When the tuna boat’s helicopter spotted Shaddock’s catamaran about 1,200 miles from land, it was the first sign of humans in three months, Shaddock said.
The pilot threw her a drink and then flew off, later returning with a speed boat from Maria Delia, she said.
Groupomer, which operates the fishing fleet, did not specify when the rescue took place.
But it said in a statement that Shaddock and his dog were in a ‘precarious’ condition when they were found, lacked provisions and shelter, and were given medical treatment, food and hydration by the crew of the tuna boat.
Shaddock said the tuna boat turned into his land and Bella immediately hit it off with the crew. He also explained how he and the dog met.
‘Bella found me in the middle of Mexico. He’s Mexican,’ she said. ‘He’s the soul of the country and he won’t let me go. I tried to find a home for him three times and he just kept following me on the water. He’s a lot braver than I am, that’s for sure.’
Australian sailor Tim Shaddock smiles as he arrives at Manzanillo Harbor on Tuesday
The crew of the Mexican tuna boat “Maria Delia” pose for a photo with Australian Timothy Lindsay Shaddock’s dog Bella, both of whom they rescued at sea.
A fishing boat crew member will adopt Bella from Shaddock on the condition that she take good care of the dog.
Perhaps for that reason, Bella didn’t leave the boat until Shaddock drove away on Tuesday.
He had already chosen Genaro Rosales, a crew member from Mazatlan, to adopt the dog on the condition that he would take good care of it.
Shaddock said he will return to Australia soon and is looking forward to seeing his family.
Grupomar president Antonio Suarez said this could be Maria Delia’s last trip as he is modernizing the company’s fleet and the boat is the youngest and is more than 50 years old.
If so, it would be a ‘great farewell, saving people’s lives’, Suarez said.
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