Arriving At Pig Island
Finally, the moment we’d been waiting all day for had arrived: I was about to swim with the famous pigs of The Bahamas. The passengers squealed (okay, maybe it was just me) as the first pig swam up alongside the boat. His light pink pudge coasted over the clear water as he opened his mouth wide, waiting for a treat to drop in.
“There are three things you have to remember before you swim with the pigs!” our tour guide shouted, praying we would listen closely, “These are wild animals, when they come over, drop the FULL carrot in their mouth. They don’t like halves. If you give them a half, they will make up for it with your finger. Whenever you want them to go away, just give ’em a splash and they’ll move on. And THIRD, most imPORTantly: Do NOT, under any circumstances, bring the food on land. They will chase you down and get that carrot; I guarantee you.”
Time To Swim With The Pigs
Taking this information with a grain of salt, I hopped into the water with my sole carrot. There was no time to be wasted. It was time to swim with the pigs. A big boy with floppy, salmon-colored ears cruised over through the water as if he was finishing his last lap in the Olympics.
I was hoping to get the first munch on my GoPro, so it is safe to say that I was not prepared for this moment. As I ran into the deep end, trying to splash the monster as he chased me down, I heard “GIVE HIM THE CARROT. JUST GIVE HIM THE CARROT,” echo from the tour guide, watching this whole fiasco. Alas, the pig gave up, making a sharp turn and heading for the next unsuspecting victim.
“You said if I splashed him that he would stop!” I joked up to the tour guide, remembering his speech.
“Well, it’s gotta be bigger than that,” he said, tossing another carrot down into my hand.
A Shock Wave On Pig Island
As I caught the carrot, I looked down at the water, confused. Something was floating toward me, but it wasn’t as bright as a carrot should be. As I got closer, I realized the horrific truth: It was pig shit. Even though I knew these were wild animals, I completely disregarded the fact that, when we feed them all of these snacks, we would be finding them again later. Not only would we find them, they would be FLOATING toward us in the Caribbean blues.
“This can’t be good for you,” we said, laughing nervously as we shuffled through the sand in the other direction.
Another big hunk of bacon came swarming at me from the shore, but, this time, I was ready for him. Dropping the carrot into his mouth, I watched his crooked, yellow teeth chomp my present into a sea of orange bits. However, he wasn’t content. I watched in horror as the pig finished his carrot and promptly turned around, heading right back toward me. This time, I had no peace offering.
Making a miniature wave pool, I pushed the biggest wave I could create toward the circling beast. He nonchalantly turned around and headed over to the next carrot in his eye line. Raven: 1, Pigs: 1. Now, back on an even playing ground, I decided to take the adventure on land (not with a carrot, of course, that would be a suicide mission).
Finding The Mother-Load
This is when I came face to face with the real behemoth of this island. A pig, three times the size of me and probably ten times the weight, was strolling down the shore, terrorizing every tourist in his path. Never in my wildest dreams have I imagined that a pig could grow so big. This guy came straight out of the dinosaur ages, solely surviving on this island and then creating his own empire. At least, this is what I’d like to believe.
This theory made even more sense as I watched a piglet run past him and into the shade of a boat. For another size comparison, this piglet was smaller than the size of the behemoth’s head alone.
“Do you want to hold him?” the tour guide asked, picking up the innocent little piglet.
This is an offer I simply could not turn down. There were signs all over the island warning tourists not to pick up the piglets without a guide’s help. I’d just scored the golden chalice: First Up. The second the baby was placed in my arms, I instantly fell in love. I know I’m from Wisconsin and everything, but I can honestly say this was the first time I’d held a piglet and what better place to do it than The Bahamas.
The Best Part of Island Hopping
I handed the piglet back over to the guide, following a medium-sized lad to the pig house in the shade. As I looked up, another guy was standing right beside me.
“Remember me?” he said, as the realization set in.
“Santana’s Grill! YES. We told you we’d find you!” I said, laughing and remembering his face from the bar the night before.
That’s the funny thing about island hopping. Though there are over 365 islands in the Exuma’s, one for every day of the year, they’re all pretty small. I found myself running into the same friends we’d met along the way all week, whether we were on Great Exuma or Pig Island or even Staniel Cay. No matter where we went, there was always a new, happy person, ready to say the famous last words, “Remember me?”
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