PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos — It was peer pressure that made us eat the strange, wiggly thing. “It gives you power for romance, if you know what I mean,” said Buff, the first mate from Caicos Dream Tours, as he demonstrated how you slurp down the long, translucent tube he had pulled from the body of a conch. “It is island Viagra,” he said to our group of mostly women. “Suck it down like an oyster.”
Well, why not? It wasn’t that bad — kind of like a rubbery, fish-flavored gummi worm. Buff remained mum on what body part we’d consumed. A couple of days later, a quick web search revealed that we’d eaten the style, a protein rod from the conch’s stomach. By that time, we’d tried so much conch — served raw, fried, and ceviche-style — that it really didn’t matter. But the conch we ate aboard the Dream Tours catamaran was definitely the freshest, since we had caught it ourselves, minutes before, free-diving on the sea floor off the island of Providenciales.