An Aussie sailor who endured months of drifting in the Pacific Ocean with his cherished dog has shared his extraordinary story of survival, surviving on raw fish and rainwater, until finally reaching safe ground.
Timothy Lyndsay Shaddock, aged 54, and his faithful dog Bella, were retrieved after a three-month at the sea by a Mexican tuna fishing vessel that happened to identify their distressed boat in the vast stretch of the world’s most expansive ocean.
“I’m feeling alright. I’m feeling a lot better than I was, I tell you,” an extensively bearded Shaddock conveyed during a press briefing upon his arrival at the port of Manzanillo, approximately 790 kilometers (491 miles) west of Mexico City.
“To the captain and fishing company that saved my life, I’m just so grateful. I’m alive and I didn’t really think I’d make it,” he expressed.
Shaddock, self-characterizing as a reserved individual who loves being alone on the ocean, traced the beginning of his odyssey to early May.
It was then that he and Bella, a stray he adopted while journeying across Mexico, embarked on an extended fishing voyage from the Sea of Cortes, also recognized as the Gulf of California.
Their end goal was French Polynesia, a journey spanning 6,000 kilometers (3,728 miles).
However, his compact catamaran “Aloha Toa” was damaged by a storm a few weeks later, resulting in Shaddock and Bella adrift on a volatile and unpredictable sea with minimal prospect of rescue.
Shaddock noted that he “did a lot of fishing” and ate “a lot of tuna sushi” to maintain both himself and Bella, but his health deteriorated significantly after the storm’s onset.
Eventually, they were sighted in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, “more than 1,200 miles from land,” as per a Monday tweet from Grupomar, the proprietor of the tuna boat.
Captain Óscar Meza Oregón and his crew bestowed Shaddock with medical care, hydration, and sustenance, as per Grupomar.
“Thank God for putting us in the path of a man who could have died,” expressed Antonio Suarez, Grupomar’s owner, to journalists.
“It is a day of happiness because we ended up on an adventure to save an adventurer who had many more problems than we did.”
Shaddock expressed gratitude to Bella for her critical companionship and explained how they crossed paths by chance.
“Bella sort of found me in the middle of Mexico, she’s Mexican, she is the spirit of the middle of the country. And she wouldn’t let me go. I tried to find a home for her maybe three times, and she just kept following me onto the water,” he recounted.
Displaying signs of bewilderment, visibly lean, and sporting an unkempt beard and hair, Shaddock declared that he’ll “always be in the water,” notwithstanding his recent escape.
“I don’t know how far out in the ocean again I’ll be, you know, but I think I just love the nature,” he concluded.