After enjoying a fantastic meal, jumping along to a Junkanoo and getting a Bahamas SIM card we left Governor’s Harbor and made our way to the next destination – Cape Eleuthera Marina. We were all excited about swimming with pigs in the Bahamas. When planning our passage we initially wanted to sail straight to Pig Beach in Exuma but the distance was too far. We always plan our trips so that we enter a mooring during daylight.
Instead of making the 12-hour sail to Pig Beach we made a pit stop enjoying a night’s stay at the beautiful Cape Eleuthera Marina. When we arrived a kind attendant helped us tie up the boat at the end of a T-dock. We all got off and were blown away with the beauty of the area. (Read more below the video…)
Swimming With Pigs in the Bahamas
The marina sits on a peninsula so there were beaches in almost every direction.
We noticed big tall palm trees, dark blue ocean waters and cute cottages around the marina property. It was amazingly quiet. Perhaps January is the quiet season or it simply is a quiet marina?!
With our laundry in hand, we made our way to the marina office to book in and pay our fees. At the time of our visit these were the prices we paid:
- Dockage: $2.25 / foot / night
- Water: $0.35 / gallon
- Electricity: $0.50 / KWH
Not a cheap night’s stay but we made the most of it.
We did our laundry, got rid of our trash and took a tour of the property. There is a beautiful beach, a well-kept pool, and a dive school. The marina and surrounding cottages/townhouses looked in top shape. There was a very luxurious feel to the place.
Near the beach and pool is a restaurant however it’s not opened on a Monday, the day we arrived. We always look forward to having a beverage and enjoying the views but we timed or visit wrong. With the restaurant closed.
Unfortunately, the bathrooms and laundry facilities weren’t that great.
The bathrooms, although roomy, were outdated. And the coin-operated dryer’s never managed to really dry our clothes.
After a lovely night’s sleep, we left the marina early in the morning and headed south to the Exumas. We sailed for the first five hours, had to motor for a while and then eventually sailed again. Just before arriving at Pig Beach we had to go over a very shallow area.
I held my breath as Simon navigated back and forth through the shallows.
When I saw 0.9 meters below the keel I became very anxious. Simon and I usually anchor in 10 meters so we felt out of our comfort zone being so shallow. We just didn’t have a choice.
We anchored and then the heavens opened up. The rain was cold so Sienna and I went down below to do her homeschooling. We all decided that we’d take the dinghy to pig beach in the morning.
With our awesome Internet package of unlimited gigs on the Aliv plan ($30 USD/week), we decided to stream Amazon Prime. Andrew, Simon and I watched Grand Tour. It was the first time in four years of living aboard that we had good enough wifi to stream a TV program. It was great to see something new! Usually, we have to pull out our movie hard drive and pick something we haven’t seen in a long time.
The next day we all got up and were eager to see the pigs.
It was still raining but we didn’t care. We all got into the dinghy and headed for the beach. To my utter amazement, the beach was filled with pigs – BIG PIGS. As we slowly approached the beach, the pigs started swimming out to the dinghy.
We fed them carrots and they absolutely loved them.
Some of the pigs managed to get up on our dinghy and reach in to grab more carrots. They would then slide off with there hooves dragging along the side of the boat. It was so funny.
There must have been around 15 big pigs and then out came around 15 babies. The babies were all adorable! We spent two days on Pig Beach enjoying the snorts and grunts.
Just a bit of background…
Pig Beach or Pig Island or Major Cay or officially Big Major Cay is an uninhabited island (or cay) located in Exuma, the Bahamas. The island takes its unofficial name from the fact that it is populated by a colony of feral pigs that live on the island.
Legend has it that the pigs are said to have been dropped off on Big Major Cay by a group of sailors who wanted to come back and cook them. The sailors, though, never returned; the pigs survived on excess food dumped from passing ships.
Another legend has it that the pigs were survivors of a shipwreck and managed to swim to shore. Others suggest that the pigs were part of a business scheme to attract tourists to the Bahamas. The pigs are now fed by locals and tourists.
My take on Pig Beach?!
I think that there might have been pigs dropped off by sailors a long time ago. When we were in Bermuda there is a similar tale. The stories mention sailors throwing a few pigs off the boat knowing that when they came back there would be food for them. Although there’s probably a bit of truth to the pigs I now think it’s a tourist attraction.
On every island, we visited there were claims that we could swim with pigs.
Enjoy our Sailing The Bahamas articles and video episodes here:
- Previous article/video in the Sailing Bahamas series: Sailing The Bahamas Governors Harbour
- Next article/video in the Sailing Bahamas series: Thunderball Grotto & Iguana Beach In The Bahamas
- Click here for an overview of our full Sailing The Bahamas trip
If you enjoyed this article & video, check out these from our previous season:
- 1. Sailing to Florida – Amelia Island
- 2. Sailing Florida – St Augustine
- 3. Sailing Florida – Cape Canaveral
- 4. Sailing Florida – West Palm Beach
- 5. 10 Reasons to sail down the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW)
- 6. Sailboat Windlass Woes
Any questions, comments or thoughts?! Leave them below.
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