In the Exumas, pigs don’t fly, but they definitely swim

Pig photobomb. Photo credit: Duncan Brake.
Pig photobomb. Photo credit: Duncan Brake.

The Exumas are an idyllic island chain famous for sheltered anchorages, crystal clear waters, being the backdrop for movies such as Thunderball and Splash, and their swimming pigs. Yes, swimming pigs.

I had seen images and video, but until a 400 pound pig storms off the beach and starts swimming towards your boat, you cannot really comprehend how amazing the experience is. We were about 100 feet offshore when a large pink and large spotted pig moved with surprising speed, snouts and ears erect out of the water, toward our 13- foot whaler. They were not shy and approached with mouths open, grumbling and even pushing the boat. We flung apples into the water and circled around.

Another boat headed directly to shore and half a dozen pigs galloped down the beach in their direction. We pulled ashore and a few headed back in our direction. We watched as one of the large females actually got in the other boat. Not sure how you get a pig that size out of a boat. It helped itself to a bag of snacks and headed toward the bush.

A tour group pulled in and the guide had three large females sit before they got a treat. They were squawks and scuffles and I must admit, the loudest fart I have ever heard from man or beast. They moved from boat to boat and patiently posed with tourists for photos. I suggest only bringing small bits of food off the boat at a time, as 3 or 4 very large pigs walking towards you with mouths open is a little unnerving. They seemed to really enjoy apples, corn on the cob and bread.

We wandered up the beach and saw a few small faces peeking out from the bushes. About a dozen babies were huddled in an area. We fed them small pieces of apple and they nuzzled the cameras and us. Although not in the water, the babies are adorable and are worth taking a walk to find.

Back in the water we did some swimming with our new porcine paddling friends. They swim like dogs and move with surprising grace and some agility. Lots of fish come in and grab the snacks and quite a few Southern stingrays cruised through as well. The area is stunning and swimming with pigs is definitely a must for your ‘Bucket list’.

You can rent small boats from several places or book a guide to take you for an adventure. Pig Beach is located on Big Major and is about a 15-minute boat ride from Staniel Cay.