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An Australian man and his dog who were lost at sea for over two months on a busted-up catamaran are now back on dry land following a rescue by Mexican fishermen.
Retired sailor Tim Shaddock, 51, and Bella, the steadfast dog he recently adopted, set out on an ambitious voyage from La Paz, Mexico, in April on his catamaran, the Aloha Toa. His stated aim was to reach French Polynesia, some 3,700 miles away, reported DW.
The idyllic French islands proved to be a dream too far.
A couple of weeks into the trip, a storm battered his ship, destroying its electronics and sending it over 1,000 miles off course in the Pacific Ocean.
Shaddock and Bella survived on rainwater, fish, and hope. The shaggy captain passed the time making repairs on the boat, swimming, and fishing, all the while doing his best to stay out of the sun.
Having "lost [his] cooking along the way," the stranded sailor, whom News.com.au indicated once worekd as a tech specialist for IBM, indicated he resorted to eating plenty of tuna sushi.
The Aloha Toa was ultimately spotted 1,200 miles offshore by a helicopter that was conducting surveillance for a Mexican tuna trawler, reported the Telegraph.
The trawler, named the Maria Delia, pulled up on the lame catamaran to find its skinny captain sporting two hats and a long beard.
In video of the encounter with rescuers, Shaddock can be seen tearfully welcoming the help, clearly overjoyed to see friendly faces.
Bella and Shaddock were brought aboard the trawler and given medical attention, then taken ashore Tuesday to Manzanillo, Mexico.
Shaddock was later deemed to be in stable condition despite his dehydration.
"I have been through a very difficult ordeal at sea," he told Australia's 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."
Ocean survival expert Mike Tipton of the University of Portsmouth told "Weekend Today," "It's a combination of luck and skill. ... And also knowing, for example, as Tim did, that during the heat of the day you need to protect yourself because the last thing you want when you’re in danger of becoming dehydrated is to be sweating."
Tipton likened the chopper spotting the Aloha Toa to finding a "needle in a haystack," adding, "People need to appreciate how small the boat is and how vast the Pacific is. The chances of someone being found are pretty slim."
Shaddock stressed the virtues of his shipmate Bella, which he gave to a crew member of the Maria Della.
"She's amazing, that dog is something else, I'm a bit biased but yeah," said Shaddock. "Bella seemed to have found me in the middle of Mexico, she's Mexican, she is the spirit of the middle of the country and she wouldn't let me go. ... I tried to find a home for her maybe three times and she just kept following me out into the water. She’s a beautiful animal and I’m just grateful she’s alive."
Shaddock added, "She’s a lot more braver than I am, that’s for sure."
The sailor also expressed his deep gratitude for the shipping company whose trawler saved him, noting, "I didn't think I'd make it through the storm, but now I'm really doing good."
According to the company, Grupomar, the trawler was likely headed for retirement, but this way it got a "marvelous farewell, saving human lives," reported the Post.
Antonio Suarez, the owner of Grupomar, told reporters, "Thank God for putting us in the path of a man who could have died."
Shaddock joked with reporters that for his meal celebrating his rescue, he was looking forward to more "tuna sushi."
Rescued Australian sailor and dog finally touch landyoutu.be
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Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.