Australian and his Dog Survive Three Months Adrift

An Australian castaway and his dog spent nearly three months adrift in the Pacific before a helicopter accompanying a fishing trawler spotted them. The tuna trawler rescued the pair 1,900km from land.

Tim Shaddock and his dog Bella were sailing from Mexico to French Polynesia when a storm hit, damaging the small catamaran and leaving Shaddock without power or a means to contact help. For weeks, his broken craft wandered the open Pacific.

Shaddock and dog Bella.

Shaddock and Bella left La Paz in Mexico three months ago. Photo: 9 News


Mike Tipton, a professor of human and applied physiology at the University of Portsmouth, told 9 News that the pair’s survival was down to “a combination of luck and skill.” Shaddock had managed to collect rainwater and both he and Bella survived by eating raw fish.

At a news conference in Manzanillo, Mexico, Shaddock told reporters that he didn’t think he’d make it “but when things get tough out there, you know, you have to survive. And then, when you get saved, you feel like you want to live. So, I’m very grateful.”

Shaddock declined to go into detail about the storm, but photos of his boat show that it had lost its mast.

Considering what he’s been through, Shaddock appears to be in relatively good health. He explained that his health “was pretty bad for a while” but now felt “pretty good” and just needed lots of rest and good food.

Bella and Shaddock are extremely lucky to have passed near the trawler. Encountering another vessel in the immensity of the Pacific was very unlikely.

Martin Walsh

Martin Walsh is a writer and editor for ExplorersWeb.

Martin has been writing about adventure travel and exploration for over five years.

Martin spent most of the last 15 years backpacking the world on a shoestring budget. Whether it was hitchhiking through Syria, getting strangled in Kyrgyzstan, touring Cambodia’s medical facilities with an exceedingly painful giant venomous centipede bite, chewing khat in Ethiopia, or narrowly avoiding various toilet-related accidents in rural China, so far, Martin has just about survived his decision making.

Based in Da Lat, Vietnam, Martin can be found in the jungle trying to avoid leeches while chasing monkeys.