Australian and dog lost at sea for three months lived on raw fish and rainwater

Australian sailor Timothy Shaddock tells reporters how he struggled with hunger and didn't think he'd make it through a storm during his three months at sea

Lost at sea for months on a disabled catamaran, with no way to cook and no source of fresh water but the rain - Timothy Shaddock expected to die.

Despite this, the Australian sailor still said there was a lot to like about the experience. He would plunge into the sea for a swim, and his faithful dog gave him the will to keep on going.

Mr Shaddock and his dog left northwest Mexico in a catamaran in late April with the plan to sail to French Polynesia.

A few weeks into his voyage, he was struck by a storm, which disabled his catamaran and left him with no electronics and no way to cook.

Timothy Shaddock poses for photos with Grupo Mar president Antonio Suarez during a welcoming ceremony. Credit: AP

He declined to describe the storm or the damage in detail, but images of the boat taken during the rescue showed it with no sail.

Mr Shaddock, 54, and Bella survived by fishing and eating their catch raw. Rain provided their drinking water.

The tuna boat María Delia’s helicopter was the first sign of humans he had seen in three months. He was 1,200 miles from the nearest land when suddenly a helicopter appeared.

The pilot tossed him a drink before flying off, and a short while later, the crew reached him in a speed boat.

Watch: The moment a fishing crew rescues Timothy Shaddock after he spent months lost at sea

Sailors on the María Delia were pictured circling Mr Shaddock’s bobbing catamaran while Bella wagged her tail.

A crew member asked him if he speaks English, if he was okay and if he had any drugs or weapons on board. Overjoyed and overwhelmed, initially the sailor just hoarsely repeated: “Thank you, thank you.”

He welcomed crew to inspect his boat and handed over the knife dangling from his neck and sailors face him and Bella food and medical attention.

“I did enjoy being at sea, I enjoy being out there,” said Mr Shaddock, who only came ashore on Tuesday, having been found on July 12 - a sign of how far out to sea he'd drifted.

Bella was a big hit with the crew of the Mexican tuna boat Maria Delia fishing vessel. Credit: AP

Smiling and good humoured, the sailor was the living image of a castaway with a long blonde beard and emaciated appearance.

Speaking to reporters in front of the fishing boat that rescued him at a port on Mexico’s Pacific coast, he told them there were “many, many, many bad days”.

He said he spent most of his time fixing things on the boat, adding that “the fatigue is the hardest part”.

Mr Shaddock stepping off the Maria Delia. Credit: AP

“I would try and find the happiness inside myself, and I found a lot of that alone at sea,” Mr Shaddock said.

The sailor said he’d met Bella in Mexico, and even though he tried to find her a home on land, she kept following him back to sea.

“She’s a lot braver than I am, that’s for sure,” said Mr Shaddock, who added that she was an immediate hit with the crew.

A trusted crew member was given the honour of taking care of Bella. Credit: AP

Maybe that was why Bella wasn’t allowed to disembark on Tuesday until Mr Shaddock had driven away.

The Australian had chosen Genaro Rosales, a fisherman from Mazatlan on the María Delia’s crew, to adopt Bella on condition that he took good care of her.

Mr Shaddock planned to return to Australia to spend time with family and friends, but said that he enjoyed solitude. Still, he said, it might be a while before he goes back to sea.

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