One legend has it that a few sailors dropped off some pigs on Big Major Cay (in the group of islands known as the Exumas) with the intention of returning to cook them. They never returned and the pigs survived by eating food dumped from passing ships. What ever the legend, pigs still inhabit the beach and the beach is often known as “Pig Beach”. Many tourist boats make it there each day, and people swim with the pigs and feed them.
Last year, I had missed the flight to Staniel Cay (nearest town closest to Pig Beach with an airport) with the group since we had already made other plans. Those who had visited last year, enjoyed it so much, that they were ready for some repeat action. In order to get to Pig Beach, it is necessary to rent boats at Staniel Cay and make the short boat ride.
After breakfast, in a well orchestrated departure, 8 aircraft of different performance capability ranging from C172 to the Twinstar, departed in tight sequence from New Bight airport and headed straight for Staniel Cay, a short 30 min ride away. To allow for sufficient spacing and safety, all aircraft were organized to fly at 1,000ft at 110 knots.
As we landed and tie-down the aircraft, the boat rental agency was already there in golf carts to shuttle us to the marina to pick up the rental boats. Packing 20 people in 3 boats we were off in no time headed for the Pig Beach.
It is interesting to see the pigs (some of them really huge) lunge into the water and head straight for the arriving boats. We had packed left over food ready to feed the pigs. Sometimes these pigs can be very aggressive and even bite your hand if you are not too careful. Within no time the food was gone and the pigs retreated, disinterested in pursuing us.
After a brief sojourn on the beach, we headed for the Thunderball Grotto made famous by the James Bond movie “Thunderball” where a underwater chase seen had been filmed. We anchored in place so those with appropriate gear could snorkle into the cave of the Grotto. The currents were pretty severe, so not everyone opted to snorkle.
We headed back to the boat rental to return the boats, and walked the short distance to the Staniel Cay Yacht Club for some lunch before heading back to New Bight. There is no fuel at New Bight, so a few of us made a slight detour to Exuma International for fuel, before making it back just before the airport closed for the day.
All in all, it was a delightful trip!