Finding the Conch

My dad said he saw a bullshark on this little island inside Norman’s Cay once. He was wading offshore with the dogs when a bullshark swam between him and the sandy beach. We decided to call this place bullshark alley.

We got into the water. We started looking for conch. We spotted some cute baby queen conch. Then we started walking around the island and we kept looking. My dad found the first conch. But it didn’t have a lip yet. If it doesn’t have a lip, you shouldn’t eat it because it’s not mature.

Then we walked across the sand bar and we found a big-lipped conch. We found 6 more. It’s hard to spot them because they have green stuff growing on their shells—like underwater moss or grass. But there are also sponges and rocks around and they all look the same from above.

Cleaning the Conch

We got the sand off the shells and put them in the dinghy. We brought them back to the boat. Dad put them in the freezer overnight, so we didn’t have to break the beautiful shells to get the conch meat out.

Next day, Dad grabbed the foot of the conch with the pliers and slowly pulled out the whole thing. It was crazy looking like a big snail but more gooey and eewie. We saw his eyeballs, the mouth and the anus. I sliced the gut open and black stuff came out. I sliced open the kidney too. Dad peeled the skin off the meat. It was interesting and gross.

Making My First Conch Horn

After Dad got the meat out, I cleaned the shell with a toothbrush. I said to myself, “I’m not using this toothbrush on my teeth ever again.” After it was clean, Dad got the hacksaw. We counted from the middle to the tip and sliced between the 2nd and 3rd spires. It’s still sharp so we have to sand the mouthpiece before my conch horn is ready.

Eating the Conch

Dad and Bodin pounded the conch meat. Mom made cracked conch with a Bahamian recipe and it was really good. We ate it all.

Recipe for Cracked Conch
Serves 4
4 conch, cleaned and well pounded (with meat mallet)
¼ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1 egg slightly beaten
1 cup panko
Marinate the conch in lime juice for thirty minutes. Drain. Dip conch in the egg, then roll in panko. Cover the bottom of cast iron skillet with safflower oil (or whatever oil you use) and fry conch on each side until golden brown.