MANZANILO, Mexico — An Australian sailor rescued by a Mexican tuna boat after three months adrift with his dog said Tuesday he was grateful to be alive and set foot on dry land for the first time since their ordeal began. .
Timothy Lyndsay Shaddock, 54, disembarked in Manzanillo, Mexico after being examined on the boat that rescued him, the Maria Delia.
“I am very grateful to the captain and the fishing company for saving my life. I’m alive and I don’t think I’m going to make it,” Shaddock said, adding that he and his “amazing” dog Bella are doing well.
Shaddock describes himself as a quiet person who likes to be alone at sea. Asked why he set off in April to cross the Pacific Ocean from Mexico’s Baja Peninsula to French Polynesia, he was initially at a loss.
“I’m not sure I have the answer to that, but I really enjoy sailing and I love the people of the sea,” he said. “The people of the sea are what unite us. The ocean is within us. “We Are the Sea”
The Sydney man’s catamaran set off from the Mexican city of La Paz but was crippled by bad weather. He said the last time he saw land was in early May when he sailed from the Sea of Cortez to the Pacific. There was a full moon.
Shaddock said he was well organized, but a storm knocked out his electronics and cooking skills. He and Bella survived the raw fish.
“There were many, many, many bad days and many good days,” he said.
“Energy, fatigue is the hardest part,” he said. He passed the time fixing things and staying positive by getting into the water to “enjoy being in the water.”
When the Tuna Boat’s helicopter spotted Shaddock’s catamaran 1,200 miles (1,930 kilometers) from land, Shaddock said it was the first sign of humans he had seen in three months. The pilot threw him a drink, then flew off, then returned in a speedboat from the Maria Delia, he said.
Grupomer, who operates the fishing fleet, did not say when the rescue took place. But it said in a statement that Shaddock and his dog were in “safe” condition when they were found, without food or shelter, and that the Tuna boat crew provided them with medical attention, food and hydration.
Shaddock claimed that the tuna boat became his land and Bella was immediately attacked by the film crew. He also explained how he and the dog met.
“Bella found me in the middle of Mexico. She is Mexican,” he said. “She’s the spirit of the middle of the country, and she won’t let me go. I’ve tried three times to find her a home, and she keeps following me to the water. She’s a lot braver than I am, that’s for sure.
Perhaps for that reason, Bella didn’t leave the boat until Shaddock drove away on Tuesday. He had already chosen a team member from Mazatlán, Genaro Rosales, to adopt her on the condition that he take good care of the dog.
Shaddock said he would be returning to Australia soon and was looking forward to seeing his family.
There are other stories of extreme sea survival, but not all of them end happily.
In 2016, a Colombian fisherman was rescued after two months adrift in the Pacific Ocean. Three of his crew died. He was rescued by a merchant ship about 2,000 miles (3,220 kilometers) southeast of Hawaii. He and others were fishing off the coast of Colombia when their skiff motor broke down and they were cast adrift.
In 2014, a Salvadoran fisherman washed ashore on Ebon, a small Pacific atoll in the Marshall Islands, after 13 months adrift at sea. José Salvador Alvarenga left Mexico for a day of shark fishing in December 2012. He said he survived on fish, birds and turtles before his boat came ashore 5,500 miles (8,850 kilometers) away.
In other cases, boats are found but with no survivors or are lost entirely.
More than 20,000 migrants have died trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe since 2014, according to the International Organization for Migration.
Grupomar’s president, Antonio Suarez, said on Tuesday that this could be Maria Delia’s final voyage as he modernizes the company’s fleet, adding that the yacht is its smallest and more than 50 years old.
If so, Suarez said, it would be “a wonderful farewell, saving human lives.”
Associated Press reporter Christopher Sherman in Mexico City contributed to this report.