Tim Shaddock, a 51 year old Australian retired sailor and his recently adopted dog, Bella, set out on a mission from La Paz, Mexico, in April with the goal of reaching French Polynesia, 3,700 miles away. Sadly, their voyage was cut short due to a storm that destroyed their catamaran, the Aloha Toa, and sent them 1,000 miles off course in the Pacific Ocean.
For the two months that followed, Shaddock and Bella lived off of rainwater, fish, and hope while the captain made repairs on the boat and tried to avoid the sun. Since he had “lost his cooking along the way,” Shaddock resorted to eating a lot of tuna sushi.
Fortunately, their luck changed when a Mexican tuna trawler named Maria Delia, which happened to be under surveillance by a helicopter, spotted the Aloha Toa 1,200 miles offshore. Upon arriving to the lame catamaran, the rescuers found an extremely skinny Shaddock wearing two hats and a long beard.
Video of the encounter shows Shaddock tearfully welcoming the help, overjoyed to see friendly faces. After being brought aboard the trawler and given medical attention, Shaddock and Bella were brought to shore in Manzanillo, Mexico.
Despite his dehydration, Shaddock was declared to be in a stable condition and expressed his deep gratitude for the shipping company that saved him, noting that he was sure he wouldn’t have made it through the storm. Mike Tipton of the University of Portsmouth praised the rescue, stating it was a combination of luck, skill, and knowledge.
Shaddock also expressed his admiration for his companion on the voyage, Bella, whom he gave to a crew member of the Maria Della. He noted that she is incredibly brave and found him in the middle of Mexico, and that she wouldn’t let him go even when he tried to find her a home.
To celebrate his rescue, Shaddock jokingly said he was looking forward to some more “tuna sushi.”