Michael Dadd considers himself a lucky man.
And he should.
The 69-year-old spent four days bunkering down on Pig Island during this week's Shoalhaven River flood emergency.
Staff at the Shoalhaven Caravan Village at Terara raised the alarm with concerns for his welfare on Tuesday morning, while friend Justin Smith, who resides in the village, paddled a canoe over to the island early Tuesday morning to check on his welfare.
A search for most of the morning failed to find any trace Mr Dadd and missing person's report was lodged with police.
He was eventually found sitting in a wrecked car on the island, wet, cold and very confused.
Speaking over the phone from Shoalhaven District Hospital to observe COVID protocols, Mr Dadd is recovering but says there are parts of his ordeal he simply can't remember.
But one of his biggest concerns is for his three dogs, Odon, Ben and Roper.
"I've lost a few day there somewhere," he said.
"When I was found they asked me what day it was and I said Sunday. It was actually Tuesday."
Although he has a number of underlying health issues, his feet are of major concern.
My feet are pretty bad. They've blown up are about twice the size.Michael Dadd
He was found barefooted and had somehow managed to wade his way through the rising floodwaters to higher ground.
He says he remembers moving from tree to tree to higher land to try and stay out of the weather.
"My feet are pretty bad," he said.
"They've blown up are about twice the size.
"I couldn't stand.
"The doctors don't know what's wrong with them - I reckon I've worn them out."
He hadn't eaten any food for at least five days and hadn't drunk clean water, making do with dirty floodwater.
"I didn't know where I was when I was found," he said.
I was hallucinating. They were so vivid. At one stage I was locked in a hut and being unable to get out as the water rose and the floor turning to ice.Michael Dadd
"I was hallucinating. I just thought that was a medical term and had never experienced such things in the past.
"My hallucinations were so vivid."
It included seeing his ex-wife and one of his sons camping on the island.
"Another was being locked in a hut and being unable to get out as the water rose and the floor turning to ice," he said.
Continually wet and cold, he said he was left "exhausted".
Mick wasn't in a good way when I got to him. He couldn't stand up, he couldn't walk, he was delusional.Justin Smith
"I was just so cold," he said.
"I know I'm lucky to be here."
Found barefoot in just a navy blue jumper and a pair of jogging pants he says he can't remember when he started to move to higher ground.
"I just used whatever tree I could find on high ground to try and shelter," he said.
"I remember saying sorry to the boys [his dogs] because they had to swim in the cold water.
"I slept where I could under trees and then finally made it to the old dairy and the cars. That car was the first real refuge I'd had in five days."
Mr Dadd says he had actually taken "his little boat" upstream to a place known as Saltwater about six kilometres east of Burrier on Thursday night and woke to find his boat being washed away and his campsite inundated, many of possessions just washed away.
I know I'm lucky to be here.Michael Dadd
Left barefoot, he said along with his three dogs he walked cross country back to Nowra before making it back onto the island, and his campsite, a little separate spur of land off the north western (Bolong) end of the island proper.
What he has called home for around three and a half years.
"I don't know how I got back on the island, I just know my three dogs were with me all the way," he said.
Mr Smith believes that was all part of his friend's hallucinations.
"We (with his wife Sarah) went over to the island on Thursday and told him there was some severe weather coming and he should get off," Mr Smith said.
"He said he was going call its bluff and ride it out.
"His boat is still there under water. I don't think he left. But I wasn't there so I'm not going to question him."
Mr Dadd has lived in the Shoalhaven for around 30 years, previously working as a labourer in the building trade until a lower back injury saw him have to stop work about four and a half years ago.
Since then he has lived off his pension and battled with a myriad of health conditions.
"I've spent a lot of time around the Shoalhaven River, at one stage I lived on an old wooden 100-year-old ketch on the river but was told I couldn't by waterway authorities," he said.
"That was home for a while.
"This flood rose so quickly. I have been through a few and seen a few. I have never seen the water moving so quickly. The big trees from the bushfires were racing down the river ... had to be 60km/hour.
"The speed was amazing. They were like big 12-person kayaks."
Mr Smith said he was happy his friend was safe.
"Mick wasn't in a good way when I got to him," he said.
"He couldn't stand up, he couldn't walk, he was delusional.
"He's lost an extreme amount of weight, the cold weather and temperatures he must have endured, I'm surprised he survived.
"He's lucky to be alive, it's pretty remarkable, he's a tough old bugger, I'll give him that."
Mr Smith said paddling over to the island in a canoe in the fast flowing flooded river "wasn't fun"
"Once on the island the mud is incredible. It's everywhere. I got bogged up to my waist a few times. It was like quicksand," he said.
"I was worried about him but I couldn't get across there any sooner. I had to wait for the rain to stop and I took my chances in the river too.
He's lucky to be alive, it's pretty remarkable, he's a tough old bugga, I'll give him that. I thought he was gone.Justin Smith
"I searched as far and wide as I could and couldn't find him. I feared he was gone.
"The police were notified and they arrived and a police launch was here and we went around to his campsite. Eventually we found him at the car.
"He was just sitting up in the driver's seat, just trying to stay dry."
He said he's known Mr Dadd for six months or so.
"He used to come over to the park once a week and his visits started dropping off in regularity, so I would go over to him," he said.
"He started losing weight and we'd take food over to him. We even suggested once we take him to the hospital to get checked out but he refused.
"I just wanted to make sure he was alright."
Mr Dadd said he spends most of his day walking.
"With three dogs you have no choice," he laughed.
"I love to read and regularly go up to the town library and sit for hours and just read. I also like listening to the radio.
"I'm aware of coronavirus and all that and that's why I liked being on my own on the island. I was away from everything. I could keep my distance. I was like a recluse.
"Justin told me late last week I should have got of the island. I should have listened."
Mr Dadd will remain in hospital for a number of days recuperating but his thoughts are with his three best mates, his kelpies, Odon, Ben and Roper.
"I understand the council rangers have got them," he said.
"I can't wait to get back to them."