Our day with Shawn. Preachers cave, Piper and Zach almost dying, piggies, more turtles.
When Zach and I started really talking about travel and some of the places and things we wanted to see, I was honestly not too sure. I never really thought I'd get out of the country to see things you rarely see in the states. We got to talking and looking, and it turned out the top of my list included things like staying in a treehouse in Costa Rica, so that we had cute little monkeys around, an African Safari, to see Giraffes and other animals in the wild, and then.... Swimming with pigs.
As we always do, we dove in head first, trying to find out the details on how to make this possible. After some quick glances, it seemed it was a thing to take off my list. The "original" swimming pig are on the island of Exuma. Getting there from our island meant a chartered flight that would cost us somewhere in the vicinity of $1200 per person. I wanted to see these cute swimming pigs, but not to the tune of $3600.
Fast forward about 3 years and we were actually planning a trip to the Bahamas. Again, we looked at whether swimming with the pigs would be possible, and it just didn't seem like it would be so... until we were introduced to Shawne.
When we reserved our Airbnb in Eleuthera, we were directed to the home's property manager to arrange things like getting packages shipped to the house, local questions, and even possible boat tours. Once we knew for sure the kids would be joining us on the trip, we reached out to Shawne, and it paid off! He runs a small boat tour and would take us to see a few places around the islands for several hours. The best part was that it was much more reasonably priced than $1200 per person.
We arrived on Eleuthera very excited to spend the next day seeing and swimming with the pigs. By this point, I'd spent some time reading people's reviews advising people to skip this attraction. The pigs poop, they can be aggressive, and it's so full of other tourists it's hard to enjoy it. Our experience was not that way at all. We didn't go to Exuma to see the "original" pigs, but this was better. When we arrived at the small island, we were the only ones there. We didn't see too many pigs at first, but as we were pulling in the caretaker shook his bucket that holds the pigs food, and they all came running. It was so fun!
The pigs did, in fact swim, which was great, but feeding them was really fun too. They eat chicken dogs cut up and put on a skewer. You simply hold it out and they'll swim out to you to get their snack. The kids loved this. We had a chance to pick up a baby pig and hold it, and Piper was loving that. I thought for sure she'd be bringing a pig back with us!
As great as this part of the day was, it wasn't even the whole of it. On the way out to the pigs, we stopped at Preacher's Cave. It was really cool to see this place. It was discovered by a group of Christians looking for religious freedom when their boat was shipwrecked on the reef known as the Devil's Backbone. They used a large boulder to set up an altar and held the first service, giving the cave it's name.
After swimming with the pigs, we also took the boat over to a little cove where Shawne threw some squid into the water to attract the sea turtles. It was late in the day, so they'd already been fed quite a bit, but we did get a few of them to come over to the boat, which was really cool to see.
The day was great, and honestly, everything I'd hoped it would be. We had great family time, a good meal, and got to see some things we'd all wanted to.