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Meet the Abacos’ Celebrated Swimming Pigs

Heather Steinberger: Marine Editor      Published September 2018

Meet the Abacos’ Celebrated Swimming Pigs

When you think of cruising in the lower latitudes, certain adventures might immediately come to mind—snorkeling and scuba diving, windsurfing and stand-up paddleboarding, and animal encounters such as whale-watching, swimming with dolphins and feeding the stingrays.

In the Abacos, however, a somewhat unusual adventure has turned the little Bahamian islet of No Name Cay into a major bucket-list tourist stop. Here, you can swim with wild pigs.

Yes, we’re serious.

No Name Cay lies across the narrow Sea of Abaco from Great Abaco Island (known locally as “the mainland”), just south of Green Turtle Cay. It’s uninhabited, save for the colony of feral pigs that hangs out on the northwestern shore.

During Carver Yachts’ Bahama Bash in August, many of our staff and participating owners joined a charter trip to No Name Cay, but you’re also welcome to bring your own boat or hire a rental boat to visit the pigs. As you motor toward the beach, you’ll see the wooden signs and the pigs’ water tank, and then you’ll see the pigs swimming out to greet you.

Admittedly, transporting enough water for a community of pigs is a challenging prospect. In 2016, Green Turtle Cay-based Sunset Marine donated a 2,000-gallon freshwater tank; this summer, Russell was busy constructing a rainwater-harvesting system as well. He encourages tour-boat operators and private boat owners to bring water with them when they visit, as the pigs can drain their tank during the hottest months.

Boaters also may bring food for these omnivorous creatures. While many visitors bring inexpensive loaves of white bread, Russell advises that it’s better to offer the pigs fresh vegetables and fruits such as apples, bananas and grapes. If you happen to be in Marsh Harbour on Great Abaco, you also can purchase dry pig food to take to No Name Cay.

On your visit, you just might bump into Russell. He keeps an eye on things, but if he’s not present, remember a few simple rules: Feed the pigs nutritious foods (and watch your fingers), provide them with clean water, and perhaps most importantly, treat them respectfully and kindly. That means no teasing or chasing, and please do not pick up the piglets. This causes unnecessary distress to the parents.

One last thing: Enjoy the experience. It’s not every day you get to swim in warm, sparkling, turquoise island waters with a gregarious family of pigs.