What does it take to mix the people who have massive mega yachts (them) and those who sail on a budget (us)? Rounding the point into an anchorage off Big Majors Spot we were surprised to see 9 mega yachts, 10 motor yachts and about 20 sailboats. They were all anchored together. Why? Pigs! Or to be a little more precise, swimming pigs. So, to summarize, it doesn’t matter whether people are rich, famous, sailors or powerboat enthusiasts, remarkably we all seem to be enthralled by the antics of smelly dirty pigs swimming in the crystal clear Bahamian waters.
I have to admit, I was pretty excited about arriving at Big Majors Spot Cay. I am a long time avid reader of sailing blogs and have often seen posts of other sailors writing about this amazing little corner of the world. One of the common sentiments expressed by others was to approach the beach with caution. The pigs will swim out to the boat and hang onto the side. Not wanting to deal with a pig on the side of our dinghy, we approached “pig beach” where we saw a nice open sandy area. We pulled the dinghy out of the water onto the sand and looked for the pigs. Where were they? Are we on the right beach? We walked down the beach a little way and found pigs sleeping under a tree. We had to wake them up to feed them. So much for the pig swimming out to meeting the boat!
Once the pigs were rudely awakened by us, they became pretty active. We feed them a head of wilted lettuce. They didn’t seem to care much for wilted lettuce. Who can blame them? As we tried to feed them the lettuce, they kept coming toward us as if to say, what else do you have to eat. Later we found out the tour boats feed them vegetarian hot dogs (at least they tell the tourist they are vegetarian). Who wouldn’t want to have hot dogs, even vegetarian ones, instead of wilted lettuce?
Pigs on an island got me to thinking. How did they get here? I doubt they went for swim one day and got carried off by the currents. And, it would take two of them to populate the island. Is it really possible that Mr. and Mrs. Piggy were sunbathing on a beach in Florida, went for a swim together and wound up being swept away only to land on Big Major Spot in the Bahamas? Yeah, I don’t think so. According to some local lore, the pigs were shipwreck survivors and have lived on the island for years. So they say.
Cindy and I discussed this at great length. We don’t have much else to do. What is the real story behind the swimming pigs on a small Bahamian island? We think the shipwreck story is the PG rated folktale told to tourist and children. We came up with our own theory. It is no big secret many places in the Bahamas offer pig roasts on Sundays. It is sort of a Bahamian tradition. Places such as Nippers (Abaco) and Chat ‘n Chill (Great Exuma) are renowned for their pig roast. We concluded Big Majors Spot is a pig farm. Think about it for a second. How many little piglets can a sow produce each year? If nobody was removing the adult pigs from the island, the place would be radically overrun with pigs. The pigs would have to swim to surrounding islands for survival and avoidance of overpopulation. It just makes sense someone has to be removing the pigs to control the population. What happens to the removed pigs? Am I the only person thinking BBQ?
We believe Big Majors Spot Pig Farm is the brainchild of an entrepreneurial ingenious farmer. Looking for efficiencies as good farmers do and to cut the cost of feeding his livestock, he invited people to the island to feed the pigs. Let’s face facts. Cruising sailors are starved for entertainment. Besides the amusement of being near an animal other than fish or conch it also solves where and how to get rid of out of date rotting food on the boat. Feed it to the pigs. The word spread. Over time, the pigs became used to people showing up to feed them and became tame to the idea. Then, droves of tourist started to come. The Sandals Resort now runs two big boats a day to see the pigs. The farmer is very happy. Pigs being pigs, they needed to get to the boats first to acquire more than their fare share of food. Hence, the pigs going out furthest into the water got fed first and could eat the most. It probably didn’t take long before the pigs adapted to swimming out to the approaching boats. Or, perhaps pigs are natural born swimmers. Who knows? We believe somewhere on the back side of the island nestled amongst the small trees in a secluded dale is a little farmhouse. In the farmhouse is the farmer chuckling at the arriving boats hauling tons of tourist anxious to feed the livestock for free. My guess is the farmer is on the phone taking orders from the Chat ‘n Chill for the next delivery of free range pigs for the weekly Sunday roast. I wonder if Sandals receives a discount on the pigs they purchase since they bring the tourist to feed them.
To celebrate our arrival at Big Majors Spot, we started the day with an unhealthy but delicious breakfast of hash browns, bacon and eggs. For lunch we enjoyed ham sandwiches. And, for dinner we pulled a pork roast out of the freezer and tossed it on the BBQ. Yum. We love pigs!
*DISCLAIMER: This is story is completely conjecture and totally the imagination of the writer who has a lot of time on his hands.