Major Cay is an uninhabited island in the Bahaman Exuma Cays. Uninhabited, that is, by people. On a pristine sandy beach on its northwest corner, there’s a colony of around 20 pigs who retrieve food from passing boats and bathe with tourists.
Beyond the opportunity to have your photo taken in a real-life New Yorker cartoon, this phenomenon is both visually stunning and zoologically confounding.
Various theories persist as to how the happy pigs found themselves living a life of tropical luxury.
Some say sailors left the animals there to breed and one day provide a source of food for inhabitants of the island, and they never came back. Others claim a shipwreck dumped them there on the rocks, or that the pigs were introduced by the Bahaman government as a tourist attraction. If the latter were true, it was a wise move — boat tours from the neighboring Fowl Clay and mainland Exuma run daily, and feeding the pigs is encouraged.
The level of mystery surrounding the swine’s origins is somewhat peculiar, since the pigs first appeared as recently as 2001.
Most of us carry around in our hearts places we must visit. My list began with Wales — verdant, mystical, rimmed with cliffs, dotted with castle ruins. When I learned that Wales recently became the first country in the world with a formal footpath along its entire coastline — 870 miles of trails — I could no longer resist.
Dominique Browning, in today’s Travel section cover story