I have a lot of stories from my recent 10 day sailing catamaran trip in the Exumas (Bahamas) but, the first and biggest one I have to talk about is the day I swam with pigs!
It was near Staniel Cay, famous for the Thunderball Grotto, where the James Bond film of that name was shot. The grotto is known for fantastic snorkeling with its underwater cave system and is supposed to be full of exotic fish and marine life. My friend and Captain of our boat, Fernand, decided we should head off to snorkel and 4 of us and he got into our pretty small dinghy and went on our way.
Fernand did have a map with him and navigated through the water to the area where he thought there would be snorkeling.
This was not the Thunderball grotto, that is actually difficult to find the opening for, but an area marked as another great area for fish. But, as we dropped the anchor and looked around, we saw no fish. Nor did we see any other boats or snorkelers. We convinced our Captain to move us somewhere else. But, again, he picked a spot with no fish. At this point, we were all feeling a bit restless and anxious to actually see something. Having heard about an island nearby where pigs are said to swim, we all agreed that we should head there. The only thing was that it wasn’t too close and we actually weren’t sure how far it would be. Nevertheless, we decided to try.
After about a 15 or so minute ride through the pretty calm waters, we saw a beach with movement on it. At first, we just noticed some birds but, as we got closer, we recognized the big shape swimming towards us. It was a pig! A very large pink
pig moving quite quickly right for the dinghy. It approached us and swam happily around the dinghy and then made its way back to shore. My friend, Julie was the first to jump in the water. The pig swam right by him not seeming bothered at all. The rest of us followed and made our way to the beach where 3 even bigger pigs were happily splashing around. It was definitely a sight to see and one that we kept thinking was quite unreal.
Since none of us were sure how tame or passive they would be, we kept a distance not choosing to tempt fate. I did have a go pro camera with me and did the best I could to capture some video.
This most unusual and significant event was made even more memorable when it was time to go. The current had picked up and Fernand decided we couldn’t go back the way we came. So, we had to now maneuver around these islands the other way that would take us even longer to return. We were doing fine for a while but then there was only one small inlet to pass through and Fernand didn’t think we’d make it. Fortunately, there was a dock nearby with some people on it and we were able to find out from them that it was safe.
We were motoring along for a while when suddenly the current there picked up and waves started swamping us with water. Quicker than we could bail, (with 2 half plastic water bottles,) the waves kept coming. Then, the motor cut out. Not once but 4 times. It needed to be kept out of the water. But, Fernand didn’t have the key to lock it up and so, my friend Pierette had to hold it up while my other friend, Barbara bailed. Then, it started to rain. It was getting to be a bit like a bad movie and I went from laughing to praying in anticipation of seeing our marina appear.
Well we did manage to make it and as soon as we had the dinghy tied up, Fernand’s comment was “at least we saw the pigs.”
All the best,