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Over 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by its oceans. So, if you get lost out there, it won’t exactly be easy to find you.
But one Australian man (and his dog) were lucky enough to be found on the high seas even after being castaways for over two months.
Tim Shaddock is a 51-year-old sailor from Sydney. In April, he and his dog, Bella, meant to sail from La Paz, Mexico, to French Polynesia, which is a more than 6,000 kilometer-long (3,700-mile) journey. After a couple of weeks of sailing, a storm hit their catamaran, cutting their communication and damaging the boat. They were stranded in the middle of the ocean. To survive, Shaddock used his fishing gear to catch some food, which he and Bella had to eat raw. He also caught rainwater to keep them both hydrated. They sheltered from the sun under the boat’s canopy.
"It's a combination of luck and skill," Professor Mike Tipton, an ocean survival expert, told Weekend Today. "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. ... These voyages of any great length tend to occur in the Pacific. If you look back through history, they tend to occur in warm environments because if it was a cold environment you don't survive long enough."
Last Thursday, Shaddock and Bella were spotted in the water by a helicopter that was trailing after a tuna trawler off the coast of Mexico. The trawler then made its way over to Shaddock’s boat, and the crew brought the man and his dog back to Mexico’s shore.
Shaddock’s doctor said that he was actually in pretty good shape, all things considered. He had “normal vital signs,” though he’d lost weight and grown an impressive beard.
"I have been through a very difficult ordeal at sea," Shaddock told 9News soon after being rescued. "And I'm just needing rest and good food because I have been alone at sea a long time.”