An Australian sailor who was rescued after being lost at sea for three months with his dog has said he is “grateful” to be alive.
Timothy Shaddock, 54, made the remarks after setting foot on dry land on Tuesday for the first time since his ordeal started.
The 54-year-old’s catamaran set sail in April from the Mexican city of La Paz for French Polynesia – but was crippled by bad weather weeks into the journey.
He said the last time he saw land was in early May as he sailed out of the Sea of Cortez and into the Pacific Ocean.
The sailor, who is from Sydney, became lost after the electronics on his vessel were wiped out by a storm, leaving him unable to call for help.
He survived for three months collecting rainwater and eating raw fish.
Mr Shaddock and his dog Bella were eventually rescued by a tuna fishing boat before being brought to the Mexican city of Manzanillo.
After seeing a doctor on board the Maria Delia Tuna on Tuesday, Mr Shaddock said. “I’m feeling alright. I’m feeling a lot better than I was, I tell ya.”
The sailor, who was smiling, bearded and thin after stepping back on dry land, continued: “I didn’t think I would make it … there were many bad days and many good days. I lost my cooking along the way so it was a lot of tuna sushi … I’m still very skinny.”
Mr Shaddock added that after he was rescued he was “just eating so much food” on the Mexican fishing vessel.
“To the captain and fishing company that saved my life, I’m just so grateful. I’m alive and I didn’t really think I’d make it,” he added.
Mr Shaddock was rescued after he was spotted by a helicopter that was on the lookout for tuna for a fishing vessel.
The sailor said the helicopter was the first “human vehicle” he had seen in months.
“The chopper basically flew away and the came back with a speed boat, I was just very grateful,” he said.
The tuna boat spotted Mr Shaddock’s boat about 1,200 miles (1,930km) from land, Grupomar, which operates the fishing fleet, said in a statement.
The company didn’t specify when the rescue occurred, but said Mr Shaddock and his dog were in a “precarious” state when they were found.
Mr Shaddock said he’ll be going back to Australia soon and that he’s looking forward to seeing his family.
The sailor said that he and his “amazing” dog are both doing well now and that he still loves the ocean.
Mr Shaddock said: “I did enjoy being at sea, I enjoy being out there, but when things get tough out there you have to survive, and then when you get saved you feel like you want to live.”
Before the sailor and the dog left the rescue vessel, the crew posed for photos on board while holding Bella.