By DJ Doran
In the Bahamas there is a district called Exuma made up of around 360 islands large and small, but among them one unique island in particular. Officially, the island is called Big Major Cay, but locals also have a name for it because of its unusual inhabitants – pigs.
Thats right! These swimming pigs have become so famous, the area is unofficially known as Pig Beach by the locals. Because they and the tourists bring food, the pigs will run into the water and actually swim out to incoming boats, as if to greet and welcome them to the dining table. It may seem strange enough on its own to see pigs laying around on a tropical beach of white sand surrounded by palm trees, but to see them then charge into the water to greet oncoming boats is just plain bizarre.
There are, of course, rumors and legends of how the ancestors of these now-feral pigs came to be porcine castaways on an uninhabited tropical pile of sand, but the prevailing story is that they were dropped off on Big Major Cay by bunch of hungry sailors who had every intention of coming back to cook and eat them. But luckily for the these little bacons in the makin’, the swabbies never returned.
Through the years, the pigs have been able to eke out enough food to survive, and thrived from the food dumped by passing ships to keep them well-fed and fat. Another legend has it that the pigs were survivors of a shipwreck and managed to swim to shore, while others claim that the pigs really escaped from a nearby islet, or that the pigs were part of some business scheme gone wrong to attract tourists to the Bahamas.
You are probably already asking yourself the same question that has popped into the minds of everyone that has visited the island. “Why would anyone want to swim with pigs?”
You do it because the surroundings are incredible and the water is warm, inviting and clear. You can’t help but jump in the water with the pigs because it is by itself a unique experience. It has brought movie stars like Johnny Depp and Nicholas Cage to the Bahamas just for the experience.
Regardless of how or why they arrived on their island, the 20 or so little piggies – accompanied by a couple of stray cats and goats – are now fed by locals and tourists alike who visit Pig Beach.
For more information, go to www.bahamas.com/swimmingpigs.