A short 25 minute flight takes us from Miami to Nassau, the capitol of the Bahamas. In keeping with the short distance between them this is a very Americanised Caribbean island group. Sun and sand, resorts and cruise ships, even designer label shops pander to the American “theme park” loving tourists. Nonetheless this chain of over 700 verdant islands sports stunning unspoilt beaches and mesmerising turquoise blue water. It truly is a tropical paradise.
All of the locals are bemused by the tourists’ desire to do one day trip over any other and that is to see the swimming pigs. With a not insignificant price tag of $400 US per person the tours are fully booked such is their popularity. We set out under clear blue skies and the first 90 minutes sees us speeding uncomfortably down to the stunning Exumas Cays. The first stop is at Iguana beach where these fascinating but ugly reptiles scamper around the beach curious rather than afraid of us.
Another hour takes us past innumerable little islands, many of which have buildings. These islands belong to the ultra rich and famous and our crew point them out. This one belonged to Pablo Escobar, this to the CEO of Louis Vuitton, actor Tyler Perry, Johnny Depp and so the roll call goes on. Finally we reach our destination and yes the beach is home to about 20 porkers of varying sizes up to 250kg. As we pull into shore they start to swim out to us enticed by the free feed. Both human and porcine participants are well sated by the conclusion of this face to snout encounter.
Lunch is at the sailing club at Staniel Cay and, for me and and Anthony, this is actually the highlight of our trip. At the edge of the wharf is a staircase leading into the sea. Because of humans feeding fish scraps the water at the bottom step is literally alive with dozens of grey nurse sharks. Wading into the water and having these magnificent pelagics brush up against our legs is an otherworldly experience.
The day finishes with a long swim at a deserted idyllic white sand beach. The perfect ending to a perfect day.