‘Aussie castaway’ rescued after months at sea now back on dry land

By AG Staff/AP 19 July 2023
Reading Time: 3 Minutes Print this page
The Australian sailor, dubbed by media as the ‘Aussie castaway’ when he was rescued after surviving months at sea, is now back on solid ground.

Tim Shaddock and his dog Bella were rescued by a Mexican tuna boat last week, after being adrift at sea for three months.

The 54-year-old has since been in the care of a doctor on board the Maria Delia Tuna, the fishing boat that rescued him.

But now, he and Bella have disembarked in the Mexican city of Manzanillo.

Tim told reporters he is “grateful” to be alive.

“I’m feeling alright. I’m feeling a lot better than I was, I tell ya,” Shaddock, smiling, bearded and thin, told reporters on the dock in the port city, which is about 340km west of Mexico City.

“To the captain and fishing company that saved my life, I’m just so grateful. I’m alive and I didn’t really think I’d make it,” Tim said, adding that he and his “amazing” dog are both doing well now and that he still loves the ocean.

Tim Shaddock poses for photos with Grupo Mar President Antonio Suarez, left, and Oscar Meza Oregó, right, captain of the Mexican tuna boat Maria Delia, during a welcoming ceremony on arrival to port in Manzanillo, Mexico. Image credit: AP Photo/Fernando Llano

The Sydney man’s catamaran set sail in April from the Mexican city of La Paz for French Polynesia but was crippled by bad weather weeks into the journey. 

He said the last time he saw land was in early May as he sailed out of the Sea of Cortez and into the Pacific Ocean. 

There was a full moon.

Tim told the Nine network from the fishing boat that he and his dog had survived on raw fish and rain water after a storm damaged his vessel and wiped out its electronics.

The tuna boat spotted Tim’s boat about 1930km from land, Grupomar, which operates the fishing fleet, said in a statement. 

It did not specify when the rescue occurred but said Tim and his dog were in a “precarious” state when found, lacking provisions and shelter, and that the tuna boat’s crew gave them medical attention, food and hydration.

Tim Shaddock sits with his dog Bella just after being rescued by the Mexican tuna boat. Image credit: Grupomar/Atun Tuny via AP

Antonio Suárez Gutiérrez, Grupomar’s founder and president, said he was proud of his boat’s captain, Oscar Meza Oregón, and crew, praising them for their humanity in saving the life of someone in trouble.

Tim said that a storm damaged his vessel and wiped out its electronics, he did a lot of fishing and that he and Bella survived on raw fish and rainwater.

He said he will be going back to Australia soon and that he is looking forward to seeing his family.

Tim also spoke glowingly about his dog, pointing out that she was a hit with the fishing boat’s crew.

“Bella sort of found me in the middle of Mexico. She’s Mexican,” he said.

“She’s the spirit of the middle of the country and she wouldn’t let me go. I tried to find a home for her three times and she just kept following me onto the water. She’s a lot braver than I am, that’s for sure.”