In almost unbelievable story, a real-life “cast away” survived two months at sea with his dog.
Multiple reports say Australian Tim Shaddock and his dog Bella were sailing from Mexico to French Polynesia when he became stranded after rough seas damaged his boat. The storm also damaged his communication equipment, so he could not call for help.
A Mexican tuna fishing boat found Shaddock and his dog two months later. Shaddock told them he used fishing gear to catch fish. He also captured rainwater so he and his dog would have clean water.
In an Australian News9 report, an ocean survival expert says the survival story is part luck and part smart survival tactics.
“It’s a combination of luck and skill,” says Mike Tipton, a professor and survival expert. “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.”
Rescuers say Shaddock had normal vital signs. He told officials he felt fine but needed some rest.
Here are some tips from Bear Grylls if you ever find yourself in this situation.
For water at sea, you should:
- Conserve, conserve, conserve – “Use every container you have to collect water, even if it is only a rubbish bag, and keep them well sealed and attached to the raft,” says Grylls.
- Collect rainwater – Look for cloud changes and have a tarp or bowls ready with a maximum surface area to capture as much rain as possible.
- Go fishing – “Fish contain a useful source of fluid in their spines and eyes,” says Bear. “For the eyes, I always try to swallow them whole, so I don’t have to taste what’s inside.” He also says you can drink fish blood.
For food at sea, you have several options. This includes:
- Seaweed – Rich in protein, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins.
- Fish – You can eat fish raw if you don’t have a way to cook it. You can also eat most parts of the fish.
- Birds – You may need some extra luck with this, but, like fish, you can eat a bird raw if necessary.