Monday, August 22, 2011

Doesn't A Gastropod Always Have A Helmet On?

Today we went snorkeling at Smith's Reef here on Providenciales. The shoreline was rockier than the other locations we went snorkeling in, so we didn't stay long. Plus, the water was super-choppy due to the approaching storm, so it wasn't very pleasant being knocked against the rocks.

But....before we left, I spied this beautiful conch (pronounced "konk")at the sandy bottom, about 100 feet off shore. I pointed it out to Ed and he dove down and got it for me. Isn't it spectacular? I love how glossy it is. It looks lacquered. As soon as I saw it, I knew exactly who I was going to give it to. This is called a King Helmet Conch.

Look at the pretty spiral on the end...

And the amazing "tiger" stripes on the side and edge...

AND...because it's a sea snail, and I plucked it right out of the water, it was actually alive. See him in there? I took some video of it moving around. Creepy.
I just wanted the shell, not the insides, so we worked at trying to get him out. It was impossible. There was no way to grab the slimy insides, and he was fiercely attached to its shell. Everyone we asked said you had to crack or put a hole in the spiral side of the shell, but I didn't want to damage it. So we turned to the internet and found some suggestions.

One of them was to put it in boiling water for three minutes. Well, we boiled some water, put the shell in the small garbage pail in the room and filled it with scalding hot, boiling water. Then we went down to the pool for a while. When we came back, both Ed and I worked at getting it out. We used a fork, a spoon, tried to cut it out with a knife.

Online it suggested using a needle-nose pliers to get it out, which we called down to the front desk to get, but by the time the guy got to the room with it, Ed had already pulled the sucker out.

This is what it looked like when it came out. Gross, isn't it?
I read that conch is second only to escargot in popularity when it comes to edible snails. Also, every bit of the conch meat is edible, although most people prefer the white part. I'll pass on it all, thank you very much. This is not something I'm interested in eating.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

1 YEAR AGO: This Is How We Do It
2 YEARS AGO: Storage In The Storm
3 YEARS AGO: Devil Horse In The Louisiana Wetlands
4 YEARS AGO: Not Sloppy. No Joe. Just Bob And His Loosemeats Residing In The Ice Cream Capital Of The World
5 YEARS AGO: Playing With Your Money But Not Really SPENDING It
6 YEARS AGO: Glamour Puss


Gil said...

You missed out on some good eating! Very beautiful shell.

Anonymous said...

Are you in for some Hurricane Irene action?

"On Tuesday morning, Irene was just north of the Dominican Republic and moving west-northwest at about 12 m.p.h. After passing over the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas on Tuesday afternoon, it is expected to turn in a northerly direction [toward Florida; it's expected to strengthen from category 2 to category 3 Tuesday afternoon as well]."

Landfall projected somewhere along North Carolina coast.

Batten down! Waiting to hear more from our tropical correspondents.