Barking the Conch and Wayward Dinks

We anchored off Norman’s Cay in the Northern Exumas for quite a few days.

Don’t ask me what days, and definitely don’t ask my what day it is. Our friend, Tripp, on Piper has resorted to answering the question, “What day is it?” as simply “IT’S AWESOME DAY!” Because nobody knows, and look where you are!

We had awesome spearfishing adventures off Norman’s. Dave speared his first lionfish, and another and another. He actually speared one with the last one was still ON the spear. Lionfish are these super cool looking fish that are taking over and ravaging the reefs. One is supposed to keep a log of where you saw or, or better yet, killed it. The bad thing about killing them is that they have these nasty spiky fins full of venom if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. The good thing about killing them is that THEY TASTE GREAT! Dave also got a delicious Queen Triggerfish. I do wish these fish were a little less beautiful because they taste so good.

Dave’s  next find was a large Queen Conch or Pink Conch. Piper had to dig deep into their boat library to find the book on how to clean a conch. It’s a lot of work, but we were determined. First you need to smash a hole through the shell between the second and third rows of pokey things at the top. Dave took a hatchet and did a Jack Nicholson routine on it. Then you use that hole to get a knife in and cut the muscle that holds it in the shell. Then it is fairly easy to pull the whole slimy creature right out. Then you need to clean the conch, which includes cutting off both eyes and the penis which is right next to them. All the kids thought this was hilarious. After this you “bark” the conch. This entails grabbing the thin layer of skin off the meaty hunk with your teeth and tearing it off. Dave had the honors. We learned that this is no longer the method used in commercial Bahamian restaurants after someone apparently found a tooth in their conch fritters. Nonetheless, Dave did it the old fashioned way and still has all of his teeth.


Then you kind of just beat the meat for a while….

Lisa made amazing conch fritters with an awesome coconut lime curry sauce.

But not until after Dave and Tripp saved the Dink….

Dave was having a little late night capper out on deck under a moonless sky. He came down and broke me from my reading frenzy (‘Wind from the Carolinas’) to say he thought he saw a dinghy float by.

The anchorage is right next to a shallow reef, and there were rocks just beyond where we were anchored. It is not exactly the type of place you want to be in the dark on a boat. But I got on the VHF and hailed, “All vessels All vessels All vessels”, did anyone lose their dinghy?

The only one who responded was, of course, Tripp on Piper. Friends become so very dear when you are alone at sea on a boat and you don’t know what to do. Dave did not want to risk going after it in Diablo Rojo, our dinghy… which deserves blog post in an of itself, but suffice it to say, ‘ole Rojo is DEFINITELY not the boat you want to be in heading downwind out to sea across a reef at night. Tripp volunteered to take Tink, their steadfast 10′ Trinka. The two capitans went off into the darkness and in about 30 minutes came back driving a brand new $30,000 18′ Nautica RIB with 115 hp engine…. towing Tink!

One would think it would not be difficult to find the owner of such a fine vessel, and you can bet that momma Tanya was thinking that this would be a great step up from Diablo Rojo. The boys drove around the anchorage to all the possible candidates (read, large megayacht motorboats) and finally found the mother yacht’s name of the side of the tender…So they woke up the crew by shining lights in the cabins while driving circles around the monstrous megayacht. I looked her up- she was a newly sold 6 million dollar yacht. The crew was quite confused, but the stewardess handed them off a nice bottle of Veuve Cliquot champagne as a finder’s fee.

We got to celebrate New Year’s all over again, with the best conch fritters on the planet with a really nice bottle of champagne.

So you tell me, “What day is it again?”


One thought on “Barking the Conch and Wayward Dinks

  1. Tom Ehman

    Great stories, keep ‘em coming Tanya!
    Have you tried conch ceviche yet? Good stuff.
    Tell Ava that Genny needs someone to play with…………….


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