An Aussie diver who escaped certain death was interrupted as he tried to explain why he was forced to abandon his canine sailing companion after the two miraculously drifted nearly 2,000km from land.
Timothy Lindsay Shaddock, 54, was being interviewed on the Today show Thursday morning when he was asked why he decided to leave his dog Bella in the care of Marie Delia, a crew member of the tuna trawler that rescued them.
‘Yeah, well, look, I… Bella ended up coming with me, but I had this crazy vision that the helicopter was here to get me…’ Mr Shaddock began to explain.
But his vague explanation was cut short as he went to a news conference about the Auckland shooting with New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins.
Mr. Shaddock and Bella spent three months together across the Pacific, eating raw fish and drinking rainwater, before returning to the Mexican city of Manzanillo.
But after arriving on land, it is believed that their union ended due to Australia’s notorious animal import regulations.
People can only bring animals into Australia that are coming from approved countries, other than Mexico, and once they are medically fit to arrive.
Timothy Lindsay Shaddock, 54, revealed he left his dog Bella in the care of Marie Delia, a crewmember on a tuna trawler that rescued them.
The two spent three months adrift in the Pacific Ocean, eating raw fish and drinking rainwater, before being rescued by the Marie Delia, a tuna trawler.
But after arriving on land, their union was ended by Australia’s notorious animal import regulations, some of the toughest in the world.
Australia has some of the strictest animal import laws in the world and there are several hurdles in the process that aren’t cheap.
If Mr. Shaddock chose to defy the odds again and try to bring Bella home, he would have to temporarily stay in an approved country before coming down.
In addition to the cost of finding someone to care for her in a temporary place, Bella then needed to be vaccinated, microchipped and quarantined.
Instead, Bella will spend the rest of her days with Genaro Rosales, a member of Mary Delia who took an instant liking to Bella, according to Mr. Shaddock.
Mr. Rosales promised Mr. Shaddock that he would take care of Bella and take good care of her.
Bella would spend the rest of her days with Genaro Rosales, a member of Mary Delia who took an instant liking to Bella, according to Mr. Shaddock.
Mr. Shaddock and Bella returned to land after examining him in the rescue boat and said he was grateful to be alive.
‘I feel fine. I feel a lot better than I did, I tell you,’ Shaddock, smiling, bearded and slim, told reporters at the docks in the port city, about 337 kilometers 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.
Shaddock describes himself as a quiet person who likes to be alone at sea. Asked why he left Mexico’s Baja Peninsula in April to cross the Pacific to French Polynesia, he was at first at a loss.
‘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.’
The Sydney man’s catamaran had set off from the Mexican city of La Paz but was crippled by bad weather weeks into the journey. 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 said he was well prepared, but a storm knocked out his electronics and ability to cook. He and Bella lived on raw fish.
‘There were many, many, many bad days and many good days,’ he said.
‘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’.
Shaddock said that when the tuna boat’s helicopter spotted Shaddock’s catamaran about 1,930 kilometers from land, it was the first sign of humans it had seen in three months. 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 ‘precarious’ condition when 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.
Mr Shaddock’s catamaran (pictured) set off from the Mexican city of La Paz but was crippled by bad weather weeks into the journey.
It said the couple lacked provisions and shelter and were given medical treatment, food and hydration by the tuna boat crew (pictured, Mr Shaddock and Bella on the tuna boat).
‘Bella found me in the middle of Mexico. He’s Mexican,’ he said. ‘He’s the soul of the country’s middle man 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.’
In a poignant scene, Bella doesn’t leave the boat until Shaddock drives away.
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.
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