!!!Swimming pigs
by Elisabeth Ertl

[{Image src='Schweinchen.jpg' caption='Pigs at Pig Beach\\Photo: cdorobek under [CC|http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/at] taken from [Wikipedia|https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pigs_and_gulls_on_the_beach.jpg]' alt='Pigs' class='image_left' width='400' height='300'}]
Exuma, a district of the Bahamas consists of over 360 islands which form a 209 kilometres long island chain. In 1793 the capital of the district, George Town [{GoogleMap location='George Town, Exuma, Bahamas' zoom='bounds'}] located on the largest island called Great Exuma [{GoogleMap location='Great Exuma Island, Exuma, Bahamas' zoom='bounds'}], was founded and nowadays a permanent population of 1.000 inhabitants resides there.    
The islands, also called cays, are popular for yachting, sailing and coral reef and cave exploring. Many celebrities have found a home there, like Nicolas Cage, David Copperfield, Johnny Depp, Eddie Irvine and many more. \\

[{Image src='Bahamas_swimming_pigs.jpg' caption='Swimming pigs\\Photo: cdorobek under [CC|http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/at] taken from [Wikipedia|https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vorobek_Bahamas_-_swimming_pigs.jpg]' alt='Swimming pigs' class= 'image_right' width='250' height='333'}]

Unknown to most there are some four-legged individuals, celebrities in their own right, who populate another island, Big Major Cay, also called Pig Beach [{GoogleMap location='Pig Beach, Black Point, Bahamas' zoom='bounds'}]. As the name implies, feral pigs and piglets, approximately twenty at last count, are living on an uninhabited island in the Atlantic Ocean, together with a few stray cats and goats. They were found a few years ago by a photographer and ocean guide. \\

There are many theories concerning the appearance of the pigs, but no one seems to know where they originally came from and how they got there. The first theory, based on local lore, is that they are the sole survivors of a shipwreck (either of a pirate ship or a cargo ship) and the only ones able to reach the island. Legend claims that the pigs were left on the island by sailors who intended to come back and eat them. As this never happened the pigs were left to fend for themselves by eating excess food dumped by passing boats. Still others argue that the animals escaped from a farm on a neighbouring island. Malicious rumours claim that a nearby resort might be responsible for the appearance of the pigs, or that it is a business scheme to attract tourists to the Bahamas, although these rumours are unsubstantiated.\\


[{Image src='Pig_swimming.jpg' caption='Swimming pig\\Photo:cdorobek under [CC|http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/at] taken from [Wikipedia|https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pig_swimming.jpg]' alt='Swimming pig' class='image_left' width='200' height='267'}]

The island is protected from tropical storms by a string of neighbouring islands and offers its unusual inhabitants a fresh, natural water spring. Nowadays the pigs mostly live on food brought by visiting spectators. It is not really surprising that if they hear a motorboat or yacht arriving they come swarming. Grunting and squeaking announces the arrival of the horde of paddling pigs which swarm and sometimes even capsize the boats. The twitching snouts are held aloft while the pigs make straight for the tourists in the water holding food. Even though this sight is real cute, the pigs are animals and a bit more dangerous than most tourists like to think, as they can easily bite off fingers and their kicks are pretty painful. If you think that the pigs like to swim and delight in your presence you are sadly mistaken as the pigs vanish like smoke on the wind when the last food has been eaten, nevertheless they leave unforgettable memories.
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Sources:\\
* [Kuoni|http://www.kuoni.co.uk/bahamas/pig-beach-bahamas] (cited 2015 Jan 21)
* [www.bahams.de|http://www.bahamas.de/aktivitaeten/wassersport-aktivitaeten/schwimmen-mit-schweinen] (cited 2015 Jan 21)
* [Carribbean travel + life|http://www.caribbeantravelmag.com/articles/day-trip-exumas-pigs-paradise] (cited 2015 Jan 21)
* [Wikipedia|https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pig_Beach], Pig Beach (cited 2015 Jan 7)
* [Wikipedia|https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exuma], Exuma (cited 2015 Jan 7)

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