Swimming with the Pigs in the Bahamas

Forget swimming with the dolphins. Or even swimming with the manatees in Florida. How would you like to swim with the pigs in the Bahamas?

Sometimes conversations over a couple bottles of wine late at night need to be left there at the table. Other times, they are just too special to let them float away.

I belong to a book group of smart, funny women who gather once a year during the holiday season for a festive meal.

We had exhausted the other topics this year–intimate searches at the airport, puppy training, where Melissa bought her skirt with the blinking lights and whether or not she’d be safe if she stepped in a puddle, where the Scandinavian shop had moved, and why Santa had missed 10th Avenue on his Tuesday night rounds.

Mary C. started it with a simple question. Were we aware that there is a small island in the Bahamas, uninhabited by humans but populated by pigs, and that you can visit this island and swim in the ocean with those pigs. The pigs? Probably washed ashore from shipwrecks hundreds of years ago. They acclimated and settled into the island over the years. Mary said she and a few of her friends were talking about going to Nassau (where they had a place to stay) and then it would be a short boat ride to Pig Beach where, yes, the tourists can swim with the pigs in the ocean.

Perhaps it was the wine. We did share a very fine merlot. But the reaction of the women reminded me of the time someone suggested we let men join the group.

“I don’t believe it–pigs can’t swim!” someone exclaimed. Mary had to pass around her phone that showed a video of the Bahaman pigs–yes, clearly swimming.

“Yuck! Who would want to swim with pigs? You couldn’t pay me to do it! They’re filthy, smelly animals!” This from Sharon who as a youngster had raised a pig. Unfortunately, the pig turned out to have a severe case of depression and she had to lift it off the ground to get it upright occasionally so it could get some activity.

“Look at them!” Claire exclaimed, holding up the phone, “Their little snouts are sticking out of the water to breathe while they’re swimming!”

Shelley broke in, “I remember when we visited my uncle’s farm, he would tell me (she lowered her voice to a ghost story whisper), ‘Do NOT go near the pigs!'”

Chris agreed, “When I went to the farm when I was little, I could try to milk the cows, throw grain to the chickens, and pet the horse, but I was told to NEVER, EVER go near the pigs.”

Other comments were added regarding pigs’ smell, poop, furry hair, general bad habits, and ugly tempers. I doubt that there was a single pig supporter among that whole group of women.

After the exclamations, shrieks, and cautions subsided, there was a moment of silence.

“Well,” said Mary C. with a perfectly straight face, “I didn’t expect you’d have such a negative reaction.” But she promised a full report and photos if she went.

Pigs may not fly, but they do swim. And in a time when such strange, odd things are coming out of Washington, D.C., it somehow doesn’t seem all that unusual.