April 13, 2018
Grateful that it wasn’t early in the cruising season, when we have heard everything is clogged up with far more boats all heading in the same general direction vying for the same space and resources… that should have been our attitude at Staniel Cay.
Big Majors Spot, an island just off Staniel Cay, looked on the charts like it had the most promising anchorage, which was aptly named the Bay of Pigs. Obviously, a lot of other people came to the same conclusion, as there must have been at least thirty boats already at anchor when we arrived. The bay is quite large, and certainly capable of dealing with many more vessels than that. Nonetheless, that’s a shitload of boats swinging at anchor, all in the same general area.
It may be a poor reflection on the Bahamas. Plenty of countries are challenged with limited tourist attractions, a lack of extraordinary cultural distinction, or simply marketing shortcomings.
It could be a damning testimony of the people visiting the Bahamas. The world is full of assholes and idiots… the worst people are both. Who’s to say a disproportionate number of them don’t visit the Bahamas.
For whatever reason, the fact remains that the absolute biggest tourist draw in the Bahamas is located on Big Majors Spot…
…. and that is swimming pigs.
The story is that pigs aboard a ship were apparently thrown overboard in a storm… or pigs escaped from an experimental research station… or they survived a plane crash… I’m not sure which…
Doesn’t matter (I’m pretty sure it was the first one).
A handful of pigs ended up on the island.
Eventually, it was discovered that these pigs either had learned to swim, or were willing to swim when confronted with a boat full of tourists holding food.
So you now have thirty or so resident pigs on the island, ranging in size from spotted Big Mama Kharma, who is absolutely huge, to dozens of little piglets. A sign posted on the beach warns that Big Mama Kharma, just like Kharma, will bite you in the ass!
We didn’t feed them. But we did dinghy to the island to check them out. And just like that, we became part of the perpetuation of the phenomenon of the Bahamas swimming pigs.
I’ll admit… the pigs are pretty damn cute.
We had timed our visit when there weren’t any tour boats (some carrying a couple dozen people), dinghies, mega-yacht tenders, or jet skies at the beach. We actually got to hang out with the pigs for a good ten or twenty minutes before a bunch of assholes showed up.
The first group was a dinghy full of obnoxious Americans who held handfuls of food in front of them and then began to scream in horror and disapproval when Big Mama Kharma waded out and proceeded to try to climb into their boat.
Even worse, the offered food included hot dogs which I found quite sad. Beyond being generally unhealthy, it would seem to be forced cannibalism if they contained pork… dark.
Then, before the group of Americans had left, a group of Russians showed up with their mega-yacht tender and jet skis.
A fat Russian guy in a Speedo started trying to pick up the piglets, ignoring the sign on the beach instructing people not to pick up the pigs. A woman started screaming as the pigs approached and one of the men started running up and down the beach waving a bag of vegetables above his head while a half dozen pigs took up the chase behind him.
I told Kris to take a photo and post it on Facebook with the question “Can you identify the actual pigs in the photo? Hint: they don’t have passports.” Kris thought that was a bit much.
Mega-twats and the assholes that go with them… what can you do?
Sitting right between Big Majors Spot and Staniel Cay is Thunderball Grotto. Named after the James Bond movie Thunderball which utilized it for a scene during filming, it is a swim through cave with an opening in the ceiling that produces spectacular rays of sunlight that pierce through the water.
Unfortunately, numerous Mega-twat tenders always seemed to be tied up to the mooring balls every time we went past, so we never ventured inside. Our loss.
Staniel Cay seemed very quiet. Our two days ashore, we walked a couple of miles to the town dump to avoid paying the marina to dispose of it for us.
And, while we did go to the marina to have a rare splurge for a lunch that was delicious, a conch po-boy sandwich for me and salad for Kris accompanied by a couple of icy cold beers for each of us that totaled $85 seemed quite steep.
Our visit to the local laundromat/liquor store (an undeniably brilliant marketing idea) turned out a bust. Though it advertised itself as a wholesale liquor store, bottles of Ricardo, the local Bahamian rum that cost $10 in Nassau, were priced at a jaw-dropping $27 here. We took a pass.
So, after a few days awaiting better weather, it took very little contemplation to decide we needed to head on.
We were both growing very short tempered and irritable with the constant influx of newly arriving boats that seemed to want to anchor right on top of us, as well as the never ending parade of Mega-twat jet skis that were always flying by at breakneck speed while we tried to relax in the cockpit.
In a final display of Staniel Cay bravado, the morning we were preparing to lift anchor, a sea plane actually landed between the dozens of yachts at anchor and the beach, dropping off an obviously very wealthy person who had decided this was the most efficient way to see the swimming pigs.
As the sea plane taxied past us and took off, not more than a couple hundred feet off our port side, we had to roll our eyes and smile… endless wealth certainly has its’ privileges.
Regardless of privileges, we’ll take a shoestring budget with a side order of humble pie any day.