Source: The National (Extract)
Posted: July 17, 2023

An Australian sailor has been found after surviving two months lost in the Pacific Ocean when his boat was damaged by a storm.

Sydney resident Tim Shaddock, 51, and his dog Bella survived by eating raw fish and drinking rainwater.

They left Mexico for French Polynesia in April and several weeks later their boat was damaged by a storm, leaving them drifting in the North Pacific ocean.

He was found skinny and sporting a bush beard when a helicopter spotted his boat, Australia’s 9News reported.

Mr Shaddock was rescued by a tuna trawler this week and was “stable and very well” with “normal vital signs”, the doctor aboard the trawler said.

Bella was also safe and well.

Mr Shaddock had begun a 6,000km voyage from La Paz in Mexico, but became lost in bad weather after problems with his vessel’s electronics.

“I have been through a very difficult ordeal at sea,” he told 9News.

“I’m just needing rest and good food because I have been alone at sea a long time. Otherwise I’m in very good health.”

Mr Shaddock said fishing gear had helped him survive. He avoided sunburn by sheltering under his boat’s canopy.

After his rescue, he was pictured smiling, with a blood pressure monitor on his arm.

The tuna trawler is now heading back to Mexico, where Mr Shaddock will undergo medical tests and receive more treatment, if needed.

Dog ‘made the difference’

Professor Mike Tipton, an ocean survival expert, told 9News his story was not unlike that endured by Tom Hanks’s character in the 2000 film Cast Away.

He said the presence of Mr Shaddock’s canine companion on the boat could have “made the difference”.

“You’re living very much from day-to-day and you have to have a very positive mental attitude in order to get through this kind of ordeal and not give up,” he said.

“But also, having a plan, rationing yourself in terms of water and food, is really the secret to long survival voyages.

“Just imagine how dark and lonely it would feel out there at night time.”

He was able to eat small meals, the report said.

Mr Tipton said Mr Shaddock would now need to gradually wean himself back on to a normal diet.

“It has to be a slow return to normal and he will probably need to be kept an eye on for several months.”