Island vacation on the Bahamas – swimming with pigs • general practitioner-online

Swimming with pigs

The Bahamas – a paradise of the Caribbean: 700 major islands – only 30 of them inhabited – and around 2,400 reefs lie between Florida and the southern tip of Cuba. Enough room for a Robinson Crusoe holiday, says our travel author Ulrich Uhlmann and tried it out. Join him on his island trip.

Dream Destination – that could be the Bahamian Exuma Archipelago. 365 islands and tiny islets, mostly deserted, stretch like a string of pearls close to each other almost 200 kilometers from south to north – only 45 minutes by plane from Florida or the Bahamian capital Nassau. Tiny fishing villages, but also impressive estates of the rich and beautiful line the fine sandy beaches behind the turquoise sea far from mass tourism.

With so many islands it is obvious to explore them by boat. Michael Luik, native of Stuttgart and chef of the resort Sandals Emerald Bay on the island Great Exuma, strongly recommends us to visit the "Swimming pigs" schedule. Where else is there in the world that bristle cattle so skilfully in sea waves? So a speedboat is rented. With up to 100 kilometers per hour, it goes over the open sea, through between islands and reefs. On the way to the pigs we make a stop on Allan’s Cay.

Rock iguanas with poor eyesight

The boat runs on the bright, fine-grained sandy beach of the uninhabited island. And already it comes out between rocks and bushes – primeval animals, the rock iguanas. Nimble, almost flipping over, they scurry towards the visitor. Finally, the daily additional breakfast awaits you on the over one meter long herbivorous lizards. They are cute to look at with their blue-red head drawing and jagged dragon’s tail. About 1,000 animals will be on Allan’s Cay. Now they are talking about the souvenirs of the tourists. Fruit is a coveted treat. But beware: the rock iguanas are light "poor eyesight" have confused fruits and fingers quickly.

How do pigs come to a lonely island??

The next stop then on the also uninhabited small island Big Major: From the shrubbery they come up grunt, the about 30 lively pigs together with youthful offspring; the one piglet pink like domestic pigs, the others spotted dark brown or gray, similar to wild boars. Floating and splashing, they approach the boat and demand their midday meal with a bang. Bread is in demand, but also green and juicy and even a sip of mineral water from the bottle. The very brave ones among the bristle cattle try, as the pirates of the Exumas did once, to board the ship for a fruit look-up. But this fails – it was predictable – the animal weight. But the boaters are now invited to swim with the Russels.

However, the question remains unanswered for the curious traveler: how did they come? "Floating pigs" to Big Major Cay? Some suspect that on the island there used to be inhabitants who later left the pigs to themselves; the others say that they had been washed overboard long ago in a shipwreck or a storm and were rescuing themselves to the island.

Swimming with sharks

Since all good things come in threes, the powerboat arrives at Compass Cay. The owner is Tucker Rolle, who is the only dark-skinned Bahamian, as he says, owns an island. He dedicated his life to nurse sharks. Salvaged from a fishing net over a decade ago, the juveniles were reared by Tucker Rolle. The meter-long shark offspring still cling to the daily feeding in the marina of Compass Cay, can be caressed and nibbled on the toes of the guests. Anyone who has courage and nothing to lose can even swim a bit in the sea together with the actually peaceful nurse sharks. So far, assured Tucker role smile, all swimmers have returned safe ashore.

Incidentally, the 80-year-old is among the hundreds of Exumas residents – a total of more than 7,000 Bahamians populate the archipelago – all of whom have the same surname roll after the former ancestral slaveholder. There were no personal surnames for her at that time. Lord John Rolle, the largest cotton planter far, allegedly referred to his extensive land ownership of his 300 plantation slaves in the 1830s. Today their descendants live in the remote island settlements on their own ground of fishing, tourism and scant agriculture – a Caribbean paradise also with downsides.

Information: Bahamas Tourist Office, Limburger Str. 3, 61462 Königstein / Frankfurt; Tel. 06174/619014, Fax 06174/619442; [email protected], Year-round destination; From early August to mid / late October, possibly tropical storm time (on the islands, except Nassau, most hotels closed). Germans, Austrians and Swiss need no visa for up to 90 days, but onward or return ticket. Vaccinations not required; watch out for mosquito repellent. Currency Bahamas Dollar, equal to US Dollars; all purchases etc. possible with USD.

Accommodation: u. a. Sandals Resorts from € 3,000 per pers. in double room z. At DERTOUR; incl. all inclusive, long-haul flights Frankfurt-Nassau, 3 nights Sandals Royal Bahamian on New Providence, feeder flights Nassau-George Town on Great Exuma, 4 nights Sandals Emerald Bay on Great Exuma. Further information: Sandals & Beaches Resorts, Grafenberger Allee 72, 40237 Dusseldorf; Tel. 0211/4057700, [email protected] .

Published in: The GP, 2017; 39 (4) page 82-84

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