Meet the famous swimming pigs of Staniel Cay, Exumas Bahamas! Babe the pig ~ on a tropical island 🙂 .
The pigs actually live a short boat hop away ~ on Big Major Cay ~ but for practical purposes, it’s Staniel Cay. I’ve had a lot of fun moments on bluwater excursions, but this one will always make my Top Five. Bahamian Independence Day ~ July 14, 2007 ~ on a dive trip through the long chain of the mostly uninhabited Exuma Islands, we had the great good fortune to visit Staniel Cay (latitude 24N 17’ 24.21” longitude -76W 44’ 59.77”).
We had several adventures that day, but the afternoon spent with swimming pigs, followed by sunset cocktails and dinner, made for a day I will never forget.
No one seems to really know where the pigs came from or how long they have been there. It’s generally accepted that someone lived on the tiny island, moved away and left them, and now they get on quite well living off the land ~ or on handouts from the boats that visit regularly.
The brown, male pigs are eager to greet visitors, swimming out as soon as you head for the beach. The pink, females are more patient and are willing to wait for visitors to bring the food to them. No gender stereotypes here! In the end, the females did seem to get more attention and food from standing by and waiting for us. The males were so busy chasing every opportunity, they missed out on as much as they got. 🙂
Who knew pigs could swim ~ or that rolling around and rooting in white powder sand provides excellent piggy sunscreen? That’s not zinc oxide on the brown pig’s nose in the photo! We fed them grapes and apples, and laughed until we were exhausted. Watching a pig bob for apples is an existential moment, in a twisted kind of way.
For an appropriate end to our tropical postcard day, we celebrated Bahamian Independence Day ~ at The Staniel Cay Yacht Club.
The island itself is less than 2 miles square, but it is a welcome stopover in the long Exumas chain for boaters and pilots going north or south, or hopping over from Andros Island for the day. The Yacht Club has been part of the Staniel Cay community since 1956. South of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, it’s a great base of operations in that part of the Bahamas chain. It is the quintessential way off the beaten path island experience ~ marina, pastel cottages in the village, and a watering hole right out of a Buffett song. We enjoyed boat drinks and local beer, while watching Independence Day fireworks over the water.
I did wonder about the origins of the barbecue pork sandwiches on the menu though. Did anyone think to count the pigs the next day?
I smile every time I think of Island Babe and her swimming pig friends. I hope they give you a smile too!