Inside the Incredible Survival Story of an Australian Sailor and His Dog at Sea


Jul. 17 2023, Published 11:40 a.m. ET

Raise your hand if you can imagine surviving off the grid, with only a dog's companionship, for three months. Now picture yourself, and your dog lost at sea for that amount of time. Most of us couldn't survive a day in open waters, but one Australian sailor and his dog survived in the Pacific Ocean for an astounding two months.

Article continues below advertisement

How did this courageous sailor endure the long weeks and months of waiting for rescue? He certainly had a bit of luck on his side, but this man also used the skills he'd learned over the years to increase his chances of returning to shore alive.

Article continues below advertisement

What happened to the sailor and his dog at sea?

It's a story as incredible as Tom Hanks's Castaway, but with a happier ending as sailor Tim Shaddock will return home in months rather than years. On July 17, 2023, The Guardian reported that Shaddock was stranded at sea for two months, surviving on rainwater and raw fish. In April, he left La Paz, Mexico, setting sail for French Polynesia.

During this ordeal, Shaddock had only the company of his dog, Bella. A few weeks into their planned trip, a storm took out the sailor's electronics and all forms of communication, and he had to be resourceful to stay alive for the following two months.

Article continues below advertisement

Fortunately for Shaddock, his vessel had a small canopy, which enabled him to seek shade from the sunniest hours of the day. He also apparently kept up his energy by catching and eating raw fish, and he was able to collect rainwater to drink.

Article continues below advertisement

Will the rescued sailor be all right?

According to Sky News, Shaddock has received medical attention from a doctor who said he had "normal vital signs" and was "stable and very well" following the rescue.

In a video interview, the sailor spoke of his experience: "I've been through a very difficult ordeal at sea and I'm just needing rest and good food because I've been alone at sea a long time. I've not had enough food for a long time." His appearance shows weight loss and a long beard, but he was in good spirits.

This sailor survived by using both luck and skill.

Professor Mike Tipton, an ocean survival expert, told Sky News that Shaddock's survival happened due to a combination of luck and skill. He compared the man's experience to that of the Castaway film character and said that the warm waters Shaddock was in removed the threat of hypothermia.

Article continues below advertisement

Prof. Tipton also noted that Shaddock benefited from a sufficient supply of fresh rainwater throughout his two months stranded. Another smart move by Shaddock, as Tipton said: "He did the correct thing of minimizing activity in the hottest part of the day to reduce sweating."

A rescue operation began when a fishing trawler spotted Shaddock's distressed catamaran. As 9 News Australia reported, he was found just in time, before a "massive storm" was due to hit the area. While traveling back to Mexico, Shaddock is receiving medical care, food, and water.

More from Green Matters

Latest News News and Updates

    Opt-out of personalized ads

    © Copyright 2024 Green Matters. Green Matters is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.