When pigs swim

If only pigs could fly, they wouldn’t have to swim.

Ferry workers and riders came out of their cars to meet the famed pig Frieda, who leapt off a ferry on Feb. 14 and swam to shore on Orcas Island.

“The thing about pigs is they can be very determined,” said owner Amanda Zee.

Zee and her mother Elaine Kendall of Sweet Earth Farm on San Juan Island have no idea why or how Frieda escaped from their truck. The two own 31 pigs – including the swimmer.

As fate would have it, Frieda was on her way to meet her breeding partner on Lopez on Valentine’s Day. Frieda is two years old and just under 200 pounds. As a KuneKune, a heritage breed from New Zealand, Frieda is a rare four-hoofed creature.

Her owners did not even know Frieda had escaped from their pickup bed, which was framed with several two by fours. Frieda must have somehow slipped through the space between the boards.

Why she made a beeline for the sea is a mystery.

Her owners say there is Washington State Ferry camera surveillance of the pig jumping off the boat toward the bow. It looked as if the pig would be sucked into the propeller, but she was able to swim away to safety. It is unknown exactly when Frieda went overboard and what distance she was from land. It was the first time she had ever left the farm, and she had never swam before.

Luckily, Orcas farmer Eric Lum was driving down the road and spotted Frieda. He was able to return the pig back to her owners on Feb. 16. Zee and her mother don’t have any immediate plans to take her back on a boat.

“What a wonderful story,” said one ferry worker, snapping a photo of Frieda on her ferry ride home.

Although ferry staff say they have never seen a pig jump off the boat, occasionally a dog will find itself overboard and will be rescued by employees.

“We are just glad she is okay,” said Zee about their pig who crossed the sea.