Tag Archives: Queen Conch

TCI: Conch Diving


Yeah, that’s basically what it looked like most of our trip.  I was told “there is no bad time to go”.  Really though, fall wasn’t a good time to visit.  In hindsight, we should have not chanced it with rainy season although everything I read said it rains and then clears right up.  Pffft.  Lies!  Alas, hindsight is always 20/20.  You can read all about our less-than-spectacular trip to TCI here.

I was really bummed that our Snuba excursion was cancelled due to a rather big early morning storm.  (I may or may not have sat on the hotel bed and whined about why I picked this destination for two hours.  I admit, not my finest hour.)  So when it came time for our conch diving trip, I was hopeful the skies wouldn’t open up and unleash any more torrential downpour for those precious few hours.

Luckily for us, those awesome folks over at Caicos Dream Tours picked us up right on time – and directly on the beach – with the sun peaking out from behind the clouds.  We were greeted by our friendly boat crew and offered rum punch Caicos style, in gallon jugs with lots o’ rum, and plenty of Turks Head beer.  What more do you need on a boat tour?  Am I right or am I right?

Our first stop was the conch diving sight in shallow water barely reaching the top of our thighs.  The water was slightly murky from churned up sand but it was clear enough to see the seagrass, urchins, and conch.  We all hopped in donning our snorkel gear and fins, thanks to the sea urchins.

And we were off!  Swimming against the current was a nice, little workout and before we knew it we were a ways away from the boat.  We were told to show the captain our conch findings and he would let us know whether or not it was worth grabbing.  I was glad to know, they only accepted fully mature, large conch.  Ken held up a few, the captain scoffing at the puny size each time.  I was probably busy being fascinated in the fuzzy algae growing on their shells and camouflaging them.  Finally, after it seemed like we would never find a queen, I did.

Queen Conch

Before you saw anything, I am aware snorkel gear is not needed above water.  I was trying to hide my face.

Lets just focus on that big momma Queen Conch I snatched up.  I was excited to have found such a big one, although I am not too sure why.  Ken kept getting rejected and we began drifting back towards the boat.  He finally grabbed one, although it wasn’t nearly as huge and amazing as mine.  Sorry, Ken!

When we arrived back at the boat, the co-captain told me I was Queen Conch for the day, having grabbed the largest conch yet.  Say what!  But I can never do anything right.  Moving on, we took our turn getting all excited about the large starfish they had found.  Of course, I had to touch.

giant starfish

Then, the seemingly snotty woman wearing her thong shimmied back onto the boat, with a much larger conch than mine…

And that, my friends is why we don’t gloat.  Heh.

Our next stop was snorkeling out in the ocean with tons of colorful tropical fish and stinger-less jelly fish.  It was really amazing!  I wish we could have gotten better photos of those little guys, but one underwater camera took a crap on us during this excursion.  And well, dang! those jellies are quick.

conch salad, anyone?

After all that swimming, a girl can get hungry.  We stopped by the secluded Little Water Cay, also known as Ignuana Island, as the dark storm clouds pregnant with rain started rolling in.  Time to eat!  Conch salad.  I start feeling really bad.  We are about to watch as the captain cracks the shells open and pulls the innocent little conch out only to be devoured.  I chose that Queen Conch’s fate!  Oh crud!  Now we are going to chop her up with some jalapenos and tomatoes and EAT her!  Um, how does one get back onto the boat and rescue her without arousing suspicion?  All she needs is a little shove back into the ocean…

Too late.  I watched in horror as the captain cracked open several of the largest conch.  The only thing that got me through this?  I am told conch are abundant in TCI and are in no way endangered.  Phew!

yum, conch parts

The captain pulled several of these weird stringy bits out and offered them up, saying they were an aphrodisiac.  Trying to distract myself, I did attempt to eat um, the conch’s penis?  I am not sure what it was but I just couldn’t do it.  Ken did though.  Feel free to make fun of him for that in the comments.  Just kidding.  Wait, no I’m not.  Just in time for lunch to be over, a storm rushed in.  Everyone huddled on the boat until it passed.  Then it was time for a swim…right after we had just seen a shark swim past the boat.

Would I ever go conch diving again?  Sure.  Would I bring my catch back for lunch?  I’m gonna go with a no.  It’s like picking a lobster out of a tank – I don’t want to think about my food ever having been alive let alone see it alive!

stormy skies

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