Pigs Bite

Friday the 13th: Rules for visiting swimming pigs008

Rule 1: Take food. Lots of food, whatever scraps, and leftovers you have. These freckled pigs are hand-fed by lots of boaters and they’re greedy. As soon as they hear a dinghy engine, they’re primed.

Rule 2: 006Let the pigs swim out to you. Preferably in water deep enough so they can stand. They may stick their big ole snouts at you to beg and open their mouths to show off lots of sharp teeth, but they can’t climb into your dinghy or step on your feet. So you have the upper hand and can make a fast get-away if necessary.

Rule 3: Arrive in a group of boats. You will have less attention paid to you and that’s a good thing. Being descended upon by a herd (or whatever a bunch of pigs are called) is definitely intimating, even if most of them are still piglets. Even one sow outweighs most anyone and they don’t move easily.

Rule 4: Get your camera out only once you’ve fed them. Anything in your hand is food according to pig perception and a hungry sow does not discriminate.

We broke all the rules. This wasn’t our first time to go to Big Major to visit the pigs. I mean, how many places can you go and be met by swimming pigs? We had a perfectly fine day to take this on again, so we hauled our dinghy out of the cockpit locker, heaved it onto the dock, inflated it with the foot pump, and slid it back in the water. This part took an hour. Then we proceeded to load it: life jackets, plastic zip-lock bag with camera and cell phone, towel, paddles, motor, spare battery (we have an electric outboard), water bottle and crackers for our consumption.

We were the only dinghy approaching the beach and as soon as a big sow saw us she got up and started for our dinghy. That’s when we realized we had forgotten to bring food for the pigs. Rather than wait for her, we beached the dinghy and I jumped out and pulled it onto the beach. I wanted photos. Then what looked like a big sandpile unfolded into a dozen little and medium sized 006piglets, jogging toward us. The sow got aggressive. Guess she wanted to make sure she got her share before we were so caught up by the cute little piggies that we ignored her. We know these pigs get aggressive, last visit one tried to climb into the dinghy to steal our red gas can thinking it was 017eatable. Our main concern then was having a hoof stab the inflatable and we’d be without transportation back to the marina. Like the baboons in Africa, these pigs are opportunistic.

This time, as I was trying to get the dinghy further onto the beach, this big sow stepped on my bare foot. I now carry a hoof-shaped bruise. Pushing a sow must be like cow-tipping; it usually doesn’t work. This gal weighed a lot more than me. I remembered our cheese crackers and I quickly tore this open and threw them as far onto the beach as I could. It wasn’t enough. She came back with a vengeance and bit my arm. I think she thought the camera I had in my hand was food and she wanted it. Our saving grace was the arrival of two more dinghys. 005The pigs and mamas took off in search of more food, swimming out to meet the boats. I wrapped my bleeding arm with Ed’s handkerchief and all the way 003back to the marina, I was thinking of all the things pigs put in their mouths. My injuries will heal but the scar on my forearm will be a reminder to be armed with a big bag of food scraps and to stay in the dinghy and make them first swim out to us. I mean, after all, what’s as unique as swimming pigs!015

This was only the morning and not the end of the story of Friday the 13th, but that will be a separate post.

Janet and Ed on Sable

About ejhowle23

Authors and adventurers, participated in the World Race 2011, an automobile rally from New York to Paris, crossing three continents and 14,000 land miles. Following much the same route as the setting for our debut novel, The Long Road to Paris. This blog describes our own adventures and challenges. And now you can follow our Bahamas sailing adventure that provides the setting for our second novel, Night Watch. Our rally, the African Safari Challenge, crossed five countries in South Africa in May 2014 and in 2015 we participated in the second Trans-American rally this time from Nova Scotia to San Francisco. Spring of 2016 we travelled 28 days around Australia with friends from previous rallies and in the fall participated in our most exhausting rally through Argentina, Chili and Peru- the Rally of the Incas. We were awarded the Against All Odds award. We're still not sure if this was for us or our car. Stewball never broke down and we hardly did. We will soon take on Iceland as a self-drive tour and in the fall of 2017 we will participate in the Odyssey Italia and then back to Africa for a do-over (almost) of the Africa Safari Challenge.
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2 Responses to Pigs Bite

  1. Susan Attermeier says:

    Lord have mercy. I thought pigs were peaceful creatures!

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