I guess I always assumed they were like clams, oysters, or mussels… just a piece of meat at the buffet line, ready to be dipped in cocktail sauce.
Last post-block weekend, Chris, Arif, and I traveled the island to explore the northeast part of St. Martin, on the French side. At our first destination, Lucas Bay, we found a lot of conchs laying around, most of which were empty. They were probably picked up by fishermen and tossed after harvesting the aphrodisiacic meat inside.
“Hey look at this smaller one.. it’s really pretty!” I shouted to my friends.
As I picked up the conch shell from the water, suddenly an eye popped out from underneath to see what was going on. As I was still trying to comprehend what I just saw, soon another eye followed.
“What is this?!”
Soon enough, a claw came out, just one, and started wavering around, trying to protect its home from intruders.
“I had no idea that conchs had eyes!” I shouted.
From what I saw that second, I learned that conchs were more like sea snails, with a face and a brain, that move around independently where they please. If I had known earlier, I would have eaten them with a little more courtesy and respect for their lives, although, this doesn’t change how tasty conchs are. One thing great about St. Martin is that you don’t need to visit an aquarium to experience nature. Nature is everywhere, and it is here in my hands, staring back at me with its two stalky eyes.