That’ll happen when pigs… swim?
That’s right, we made a pilgrimage to see the Big Major Spot in the Exuma Islands famous swimming pigs. They were Sato San’s #1 reason for coming to the Bahamas. After all, where else in the world can you see pigs take to the water? (Don’t worry, I’d never heard of them either before Sato San told me about them)
Before we had even dropped anchor three large hairy brown pigs with black spots were already paddling through the swimming pool blue water out to the boat. We had been fastidiously saving our organic waste, orange peels, wilted cabbage and that sort of thing for what we thought would be treats for these swimming garbage disposals.
We tossed some old papaya and cabbage leaves in the pigs’ direction. They stroked over to see what treats we were throwing them, their noses bent up out of the water like natural snorkels. To our shock, after a brief glance the pigs turned away from our offerings and started piggy-paddling over to the cruiser couple dinghying up. They wanted nothing to do with fresh fruits and vegetables.
“Get the bread!” Sato San cried: one pig still remained at the boat.
“You want to feed them my bread?!” I cried, appalled. I had baked two fresh loaves of bread that morning. I was loathe to sacrifice one to pigs, but if that was what worked. Heartlessly, I hacked into the fluffy loaf of cinnamon raisin bread, still warm from the oven, and brought a slab to the pig.
Tearing off a hunk, I threw it to the bristled boar (or possibly sow, I just like the alliteration). The vegetables may have not been tasty enough, but the swimming boar certainly slurped up the bread bits with gusto. After the slab was gone the pig paddled over to the other boaters in the dinghy nearby.
These were clearly a different breed than normal pigs. More than simply discriminating, the animals looked different from what I think of normal farm pigs. They were covered with a thick layer of coarse tan hair with black spots. Maybe they just had great tans or this environment wasn’t suited for pink pigs.
None of us had gotten our fill of pigs so we broke out the paddle-board. One slab of bead in my mouth I paddled over to the pigs and the dinghy. My ploy worked and I lured two pigs over. I was slightly nervous when they bumped into my board a few times but then I started throwing the bread further away from me. I would throw it to the pigs and it would land just out of the poor dear’s reach. Though the pig could swim, he still was about as aerodynamic as a brick and had to paddle an entire 360◦ circle before finally claiming the prize
Schools and schools of large (tasty-looking) fish had been gathering in the meantime. Soon it was a race to see who could snap up the bread the fastest. More often than not it was the fish. My forlorn little piggy friend swam up to the side of the paddle board, leaned his head back and opened his mouth for me to lob the bread in.
The whole clan of pigs was gathering on the beach to watch the action. The three we had met has apparently merely been the pig vanguard. More and more pigs joined the fun, some young spotted piglets who couldn’t have been more than a couple months old at most, and then several of the cutest tiny pink babies, no bigger than a small Chihuahua.
Sato San took the paddle board intent on luring the babies into the water and back to the boat. I’m pretty sure he was thinking of taking one with us for dinner. They’d made me promise to cook bacon for lunch after all.
That was it; the day was hot, the delphinium blue water beaconed. I couldn’t take it anymore. I jumped in the water and swam to the beach to play with (and rescue) the piglets. The adorable little ones hadn’t quite taken the plunge, but they knew what humans were for and pushed their little snouts into my hand looking for food. I scratched a few behind the ears and watched the sows burrow down to make themselves beds in the cooler sand. I laughed as little pink baby buried his head all the way up to his shoulders digging.
It’s interesting; the characters for dolphin in Japanese are for “sea pig.” These sea pigs aren’t quite as graceful as dolphins, but they certainly are entertaining. True to my word I made traditional (bacon) yaki soba for lunch and the boys ate it while we watched the young pigs frolic in the waves.
Swimming Pig Yaki Soba
- 4 slices bacon each slice cut into 3
- 1 ½ c Cabbage sliced (about ½ ’ by 2’’)
- 3 scallions thinly sliced
- 2 pks ramen (1 pk per person)
- Yaki soba powder (1 pk per person)
- Fish powder
- Bonito flakes
- Aonori powder (seaweed powder)
- Shredded red ginger
- Boil ramen noodles for 2 minutes… not entirely done (1 pack per person)
- Drain noodles
- Slice cabbage into ½” in by 2” strips
- Put bacon in medium-sized skillet over medium heat
- Cook until crispy
- Add cabbage and cook stirring constantly until cabbage darker green, about 3 min
- Add ramen noodles to cabbage seafood mixture and stir until well-mixed
- Stir in yaki soba powder and fish powder until completely mixed
- Mix in spring onion
- Top with ginger, bonito flakes, and aonori powder
- Enjoy! (preferably not watching piglets romp in the surf)