The Swimming Pigs of the Exumas

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These swimming pigs are causing a sensation, and it is easy to see why!  PIGS are not supposed to be swimming in the ocean…are they?  Have YOU ever seen such a thing?  Or heard about it?  A couple of months ago I saw a video on youtube with the swimming pigs of the Exumas, and I was so amazed (and laughing so hard) I decided I had to go and see it for myself!  It was meant to be, because a few weeks later I had the opportunity to travel to the Great Exumas (outer islands of the Bahamas).  I checked to see where these swimming pigs were, and when I found out they were in the Exumas, I booked my ticket!

Pig 4

On arrival, I asked how I could get to the pigs. I booked with Exuma Water Sports, not just to see the pigs, but to see huge Iguanas (and feed them!), swim with nurse sharks, and snorkel Thunderball Grotto (where 007 movies Thunderball and Never say Never Again were filmed).  There are over 300 cays (pronounced keys), small islands, throughout the Exumas.  The only way to really check it out is to do it by boat.  In come Exuma Water Sports, owned by Ray and Phillipa Lightbourn. The Lightbourn family has been in the Bahamas since 1735, and it doesn’t appear that they plan to go anywhere else!  Be glad, because their tours are top notch. I went the first day for a full day tour on board the 007 by myself as my cousin, who planned to go with me, was ill. What an incredible day!  Great people – it was lovely to chat with Ray and his son, Justin, and the highlights were amazing. The swimming pigs are just….hilarious. Seeing them swimming starts the laughter, it is so incongruous!

Pig 3

As I understand it, one of the cays had a pig farm on it, and the pig farmer was not only tired of farming, but tired of complaints about the odor of his pig farm.  I cannot remember if he just turned them loose, or if he relocated them (I think the latter because they seem to have their own island), but when boats would stop to look at them, they began to swim out to the boats for food!  And so, the swimming pigs of Exuma were born.

Exuma Water Sports sees those pigs on their full day tour, but they are too far for half day tours.  So what did they do?  They brought their own pigs to a small cay and taught them to swim and come for food!  They are now a year and a half old, and cute as they can be.  I was lucky enough to see both sets of piggies. I loved the full tour so much, I took my cousin back for the half day tour!

Pig 2

I am rather accident prone, and Exuma Water Sports helped me stay on my feet instead of tripping around the boat. They figured out the first day that falling on flat surfaces seems to be quite natural for me… though I did fall off the boat ladder once, too.  Just call me Grace.

Swimming pigs need to be on your list, folks!  Want to see them in action?  Check them out on YouTube!  And tell Exuma Water Sports Tam sent you!

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For more from Tam, visit www.travelswithtam.com.

Tam Warner Minton

Tam Warner Minton

Tam Warner Minton is an avid scuba diver, amateur underwater photographer, and adventurer. She encourages "citizen science" diving, whether volunteering with a group or by one's self. For Tam, the unexpected is usually the norm!

9 Replies to “The Swimming Pigs of the Exumas”

  1. Cathy Chester says:

    I always learn something new from you. I feel as if I travel along with Tam. These are so adorable! I am glad you got to see and swim with them!

    1. Travels with Tam says:

      Swimming is good for people with MS, back issues, chronic pain….you should go swim with them! It’s pure joy!

  2. Nancy says:

    Almost, but not quite, as unusual as Pigs Flying. I could not get that close to big pigs. I grew up on a farm and was chased by blood-thirsty hogs who broke down a gate when I was playing nearby.

    1. Travels with Tam says:

      Oh, geez! What a horrible memory! These guys just want hot dogs and buns!

  3. ccassara says:

    Seriously big laughs from my office. I mean, really. Swimming pigs. I never!

    1. Travels with Tam says:

      I know, it is hilarious. Go see them in person!

  4. Ruth Curran says:

    We have been talking about a trip to the Exumas (on a live aboard) and swimming with the pigs! Sending this to my husband right now! Thanks for the wink and the nod to get the Exumas back in the conversation!

  5. doreenmcgettigan says:

    They are so cute, but a few years ago a friends husband had his leg bitten by one of the wild pigs. That said I cannot believe how blue and inviting that water looks.

    1. Travels with Tam says:

      One of the pigs of the Exumas?? Have to be careful with food in the water! Ouch.

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