After more than two months adrift in the Pacific Ocean, an Australian sailor rescued with his dog has arrived in Mexico, declaring he is grateful to be alive.
Tim Shaddock, 54, originally from Sydney, was picked up on a tuna vessel with his dog Bella after the pair survived for weeks on raw fish and rainwater in their storm-damaged boat.
He arrived in the Mexican port of Manzanillo on Tuesday local time, with a thin, bushy beard and wild hair in a red cap bearing the logo of the fishing company Groupomer, whose ship, the Maria Delia, came to rescue him.
‘Captain and this fishing company that saved my life, I mean, what do you say? I’m very grateful,’ Mr Shaddock told waiting reporters as he stepped onto dry land.
‘I’m alive… I really didn’t think I could do it, you know? So thank you, thank you very much.’
Tim Shaddock has finally reached dry land after being stuck at sea for two months with his pet dog
The sailor said he was grateful to be alive
Mr. Shaddock’s beloved pooch Bella also made it safely to shore
Mr Shaddock and Bella set sail from the Mexican seaside town of La Paz in April and planned to cover around 6,000km before dropping anchor in tropical French Polynesia.
But they soon found themselves stranded after rough seas damaged the vessel, which he described as an ‘Aloha Toa’, a traditional French Polynesian boat, and spilled its electronics.
In an unlikely rescue reminiscent of the Tom Hanks movie Cast Away, the bedridden amateur yachtsman was plucked from the water after more than two months by a Mexican tuna trawler ‘more than 1200 miles from land’, according to Groupomer.
A helicopter spots him, drops him a drink, and then sends Maria Delia to his rescue.
‘I feel fine. A little better than me,’ Mr Shaddock said, adding that his health had been ‘quite bad for a while’.
‘I was quite hungry,’ she said.
Pictured is Mr. Shaddock before being stranded at sea
Stranded in the Pacific Ocean, the sailor survived on rainwater and a diet of raw fish
Patiently taking a series of questions, smiling and emotional at times, Mr. Shaddock said he used to catch a lot of fish, especially after he ran out of provisions.
But along the way he lost his cooking pot, ‘so it was a lot of tuna sushi’, he joked about how ‘skinny’ he had become.
Mr Shaddock said there were ‘many, many, many bad days’ at sea, but also good ones.
‘The fatigue is the hardest part, you’re always fixing something,’ he says.
‘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.’
The sailor had nothing but admiration for his pooch Bella, whom he had met in Mexico.
‘He just kept following me in the water,’ she said of adopting the dog after several failed attempts to get him to another home.
‘He’s amazing. That dog is something else,’ he laughed. ‘I’m thankful he’s alive. He is much braver than me.’
Mr Shaddock said his dog Bella helped him through the terrifying ordeal
Mr Shaddock said he would return to the water but not go out to sea
Bella did not join Mr. Shaddock for the press conference because he was on board the Groupomer.
Mr Shaddock said he was looking forward to getting home to family and friends and ‘just taking it easy.’
He ‘probably’ won’t be heading out to sea again in the near future, he admits.
‘I’ll always be in the water,’ she said.
‘I don’t know how far I’ll be out to sea.’
For Grupomar boss Antonio Suarez, the rescue was proof that ‘life is beautiful.’
“We had the responsibility to save the life of a man and the little dog he was with,” he told reporters.
‘We have medical services on board. He fell into good hands.’
Mr Suarez said the boat that picked up the pair was the oldest in the company’s fleet and was probably the last to save Mr Shaddock’s life.
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