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Man lost at sea and rescued with his dog vows to sail again: ‘I’ll always be on the water’

Tim Shaddock, 51, and his dog Bella spent three months drifting at sea after a storm wiped out the boat’s electronics. They survived on rainwater and raw fish.
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/ Source: NBC News

The Australian sailor who spent months drifting aimlessly in the Pacific Ocean thanked rescuers on July 18 and vowed he’ll be back on the water, despite his terrifying adventure.

While 51-year-old Tim Shaddock doesn’t have any high-seas adventures planned now, the fortunate sailor insisted that he’ll never give up the pastime.

“Look, I’ll always be in the water,” he told reporters in Manzanillo, Mexico. “I just love nature.”

Sporting a shaggy beard, Shaddock appeared on land for the first time in three months and expressed his gratitude to the fishermen who found him and his dog.

“Look, to the captain and this fishing [crew] — [they] saved my life — what do you say?” Shaddock said. “I’m just so grateful. I’m alive.”

He added: “I’m feeling alright. I’m feeling a lot better than I was, I can tell you. Thanks so much.”

Shaddock and his dog Bella shoved off from La Paz, Mexico, three months ago before their journey took a near-deadly turn one month into it.

That’s when a storm struck his white catamaran, wiping out all electronics, the sailor said. That incident two months ago was nearly deadly.

“I didn’t think I’d make it through the storm,” Shaddock said. “Now I’m really doing good.”

Shaddock had charted a journey to French Polynesia before the storm sent them off course.

The man and dog reportedly survived on raw fish and rain water. The lost sailor said he avoided sunburn by taking cover under his boat’s canopy.

“Look, I feel really good. I was struggling, the health was pretty bad for a while,” he said. “I was pretty hungry, and I didn’t think I’d make it through the storm. But now I’m doing really good. Thank you.”

They floated aimlessly in the Pacific, seemingly with no hope for survival, for two months before a crew of fishermen from Mexico came upon them, the sailor and fishing company said.

A helicopter, scouting on behalf of the tuna trawler, first spotted Shaddock, leading to their needle-in-a-haystack discovery and rescue, they said.

“You don’t have to hear it from me. The message is we’re all here for each other. All sailors help each other,” Shaddock said. “Even if you don’t sail, I’m here for you too. We’re all out here for each other.”

Shaddock and Bella were fished out of the water by the trawler and taken back to Mexico.

The sailor couldn’t imagine enduring all he did without the support of his faithful dog, Bella.

“She’s amazing, mate,” he said. “I mean, that dog is something else. I’m a bit biased. But yeah.”

Shaddock was greeted on land by Antonio Suárez, president of Grupomar, the company which operates the trawler that found wayward sailor.

“I simply came to hug Timothy, and to greet the crew and congratulate them,” Suárez told reporters in Spanish. “It’s a great pleasure, it’s a day of happiness.”

Shaddock spoke while wearing a red baseball cap emblazoned with “Tuny,” the food brand of Suárez’s Grupomar.

“We culminated with what we can call an adventure, to aid an adventurer, who had many more problems than we did,” Suárez said.

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