A miraculous story of grit and survival occurred when an Australian man was stranded at sea with his dog for two months. For two months, the fisherman and his pup survived on only rainwater and fish as they awaited a rescue that finally arrived.
Tim Shaddock, a 51-year-old resident of Sydney, Australia, began a sailing expedition on a catamaran that started in La Paz Mexico, with the goal of reaching French Polynesia. According to the New York Post, his catamaran took damage from a severe oceanic storm that caused the vessel to become inoperable and stranded at sea.
Like a scene from a movie, Shaddock was now left to fend for himself with only the ship to move about and with very few resources available on the open seas. Surrounded by nothing but water, he was forced to forgo the salty sea water and patiently wait for yet more storms so that he could collect the potable drinking water.
Luck finally struck the stranded fisherman on Wednesday, as a spotter helicopter working in conjunction with some tuna fishermen found the man and his dog stranded, at the mercy of the currents. If not for that stroke of luck, it is unclear how long Shaddock could have waited for a rescue.
Upon being rescued, the now disheveled-looking Shaddock was in relatively good health, given the ghastly feat of survival that he had just pulled off. Speaking to a local news source, 9News, Shaddock said, ”I have been through a very difficult ordeal at sea. I’m just needing rest and good food because I have been alone at sea a long time. Otherwise, I’m in very good health.”
According to Mike Tipton, who serves as a physiology professor at the extreme environment laboratory at the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom, this survival feat was mainly attributable to Shaddock’s impressive conservation of energy while adrift. “If you get sunburn, that affects your ability to regulate your body temperature.” If Shaddock had allowed sunburn to get the better of him, his body would have consumed far more water than he could have ever hoped to save from the rainstorms.
Instead, by conserving energy Shaddock was able to lower the amount of fluid that his body needed. By doing so, he was able to survive on an insanely small ration of water each day, according to Tipton, who said, “If you do absolutely nothing and you rest, and you stay cool, you can get away with as little as 110 to 220 milliliters of water a day.”
Don’t be surprised if someday you see this story in a feature-length Hollywood film. The battles that Shaddock faced rival those from films such as “The Life of Pi” and “Adrift.” As for Shaddock, he is just happy to have escaped the incident with his life.
Featured image credit: screengrab from the embedded video
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