An Australian sailor rescued with his dog after spending more than two months adrift in the Pacific Ocean has arrived in Mexico, declaring he is grateful to be alive.
Tim Shaddock, 54, originally from Sydney, was picked up with his dog Bella by a tuna boat after the couple survived for weeks on raw fish and rainwater on their storm-damaged boat.
He arrived at the Mexican port of Manzanillo on Tuesday, local time, thin, with a bushy beard and tousled hair tied up in a red cap that bore the logo of the Grupomar fishing company, whose ship, the María Delia, had come to his rescue.
‘To the captain and this fishing company that saved my life, I mean, what do you say? I am so thankful,” Shaddock told waiting reporters as he stepped onto solid ground.
‘I’m alive… I really didn’t think I’d make it, you know? So thank you, thank you very much.
Tim Shaddock has finally made it to dry land after being stranded at sea for two months with his pet dog.
The sailor said that he was grateful to be alive.
Mr. Shaddock’s beloved dog, Bella, also made it safely to shore.
Shaddock and Bella had left the coastal city of La Paz in Mexico in April and planned to sail some 6,000 kilometers before dropping anchor in tropical French Polynesia.
But they soon found themselves stranded after rough seas damaged the ship, which he described as a traditional French Polynesian boat called ‘Aloha Toa’, knocking out its electronics.
In an unlikely rescue reminiscent of the Tom Hanks movie Cast Away, the scruffy amateur sailor was pulled from the water more than two months later by a Mexican tuna boat, “more than 1,200 miles from land,” according to Grupomar.
A helicopter spotted him, dropped a drink on him, then sent the Maria Delia to his rescue.
I feel good. A little better than me,” Shaddock said, adding that his health was “pretty bad for a while.”
“I was very hungry,” he said.
In the photo, Mr. Shaddock before being stranded at sea.
The sailor survived on a diet of rainwater and raw fish while stranded in the Pacific Ocean.
Patiently answering question after question, smiling and excited at times, Shaddock said he fished a lot, especially after he ran out of supplies.
But he lost his cooking utensils along the way, “so there was a lot of tuna sushi,” he joked, while pointing out how “skinny” he’d become.
Shaddock said there were “many, many, many bad days” at sea, but also good ones.
“The exhaustion is the hardest part, you’re always fixing something,” he said.
“I would try to find happiness within myself, and I found it a lot alone in the sea. I would also get in the water and just enjoy being in the water.
The sailor had nothing but praise for his dog Bella, whom he had found in Mexico.
“He just kept following me into the water,” she said of adopting the dog after several failed attempts to find another home for her.
‘She’s amazing. That dog is something else,’ she laughed. I am thankful that she is alive. She is much braver than me.
Mr Shaddock said his dog Bella had helped him through the ordeal.
Mr. Shaddock said he would go back in the water but not go very far out to sea.
Bella did not join Mr. Shaddock for the press conference, as she remained on board the Grupomar ship.
Shaddock said he hoped to go home to his family and friends and “just take it easy.”
He would “probably not” be heading to sea again in the near future, he admitted.
“I will always be in the water,” he said.
‘I don’t know how far into the ocean I’ll be.’
For the head of Grupomar, Antonio Suárez, the rescue was proof that “life is beautiful.”
“We were in charge of saving the life of a human being and the puppy that accompanied him,” he told reporters.
‘We have medical services on our ships. He fell into good hands.
Suarez said the ship that picked them up was the oldest in the company’s fleet and the voyage that saved Shaddock’s life would likely be his last.