An Australian sailor who was rescued by a Mexican tuna boat after being adrift at sea with his dog Bella for three months is ‘grateful’ to be alive after setting foot on dry land for the first time since his ordeal began.
Timothy Lyndsay Shaddock, 54, revealed he survived on ‘a lot of sushi’ after disembarking on Tuesday in the Mexican city of Manzanillo from the fishing boat that rescued him, the Maria Delia.
‘I’m feeling alright. I’m feeling a lot better than I was, I tell ya,’ Shaddock, smiling, bearded and thin, told reporters on the dock in the port city about 210 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,’ Shaddock said, adding that he and his ‘amazing’ dog Bella are both doing well.
The Sydney man’s catamaran set sail in April from the Mexican city of La Paz bound for tropical French Polynesia, but was crippled by bad weather weeks into the 3,700-mile journey.
Timothy Lyndsay Shaddock, 54, revealed he survived on ‘a lot of sushi’ after disembarking on Tuesday in the Mexican city of Manzanillo from the fishing boat that rescued him
He said the last time he saw land was in early May as he sailed out of the Sea of Cortez and into the Pacific. There was a full moon.
Shaddock described himself as a quiet person who loves being alone on the ocean. Asked why he had set out from Mexico’s Baja Peninsula to cross the Pacific Ocean, Shaddock struggled to give an explanation.
‘I’m not sure I have the answer to that, but I very much enjoy sailing and I love the people of the sea,’ he said. ‘It’s the people of the sea that make us all come together. The ocean is in us. We are the ocean.’
Shaddock said he had been well-provisioned, but a storm knocked out his electronics and ability to cook. He and Bella survived on raw fish.
‘It was a lot of chewing of ‘sushi’,’ he joked, and pointed out how ‘skinny’ he had become.
Shaddock recounted there were ‘many, many, many bad days’ at sea, but also good ones.
‘The energy, the fatigue is the hardest part,’ he said. He passed the time fixing things and stayed positive by going into the water to ‘just enjoy being in the water.’
‘I would try and find the happiness inside myself, and I found that a lot alone at sea. I would go in the water too, and just enjoy being in the water.’
‘There were many, many, many bad days and many good days,’ he said.
Shaddock said he had been well-provisioned, but a storm knocked out his electronics and ability to cook. He and Bella survived on raw fish
Shaddock and his dog Bella are seen aboard the fishing boat that rescued them at sea
Rescuers arrive at Shaddock’s disabled catamaran, where the sailor spent three months adrift after a storm disabled the vessel
Shaddock said the tuna boat became his land and that Bella was an immediate hit with the crew. The dog is seen playing on the deck after rescue
When the tuna boat´s helicopter spotted Shaddock´s catamaran about 1,200 miles from land, it was the first sign of humans he had seen in three months, Shaddock said.
The pilot tossed him a drink and then flew away, returning later with a speed boat from the María Delia, he said.
Grupomar, which operates the fishing fleet, didn’t specify when the rescue occurred.
But it said in a statement that Shaddock and his dog were in a ‘precarious’ state when found, lacking provisions and shelter, and that the tuna boat´s crew gave them medical attention, food and hydration.
Shaddock said the tuna boat became his land and that Bella was an immediate hit with the crew. He also explained how he and the dog met.
‘Bella sort of found me in the middle of Mexico. She´s Mexican,’ he said. ‘She´s the spirit of the middle of the country and she wouldn´t let me go. I tried to find a home for her three times and she just kept following me onto the water. She´s a lot braver than I am, that’s for sure.’
Australian sailor Tim Shaddock smiles after arriving at the port of Manzanillo on Tuesday
Mr Shaddock is seen here in an undated photo taken before his ill-fated sailing expedition
The crew of the Mexican tuna boat “Maria Delia” pose for photos with Bella, the dog of Australian Timothy Lyndsay Shaddock, both of whom they rescued at sea
A crew member from the fishing boat will adopt Bella from Shaddock on the condition that he will take good care of the dog
Perhaps for that reason, Bella did not leave the boat until Shaddock had driven away Tuesday.
He had already chosen Genaro Rosales, a crew member from Mazatlan, to adopt her on the condition that he would take good care of the dog.
Shaddock said he’ll be going back to Australia soon and that he’s looking forward to seeing his family.
Antonio Suarez, Grupomar´s president, said this could be the María Delia´s final trip because he is modernizing the company´s fleet and the boat is its smallest and is more than 50 years old.
If so, it would be a ‘marvelous farewell, saving human lives,’ Suarez said.