Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Snail Experiment

Mark and I have been in the Las Perlas islands, 40 miles southeast of Panama City, for over a week now and let me tell you, this is a much nicer, more beautiful, cleaner, quieter and flatter place to get some boat work done and make the last preparations for our big trip(s) to come. There is supposed to be an abundance of fish here, but so far we’ve only caught a bonito (small tuna) while trawling from our dinghy along the ocean’s edge. It was tasty, and provided three lunches, but we got excited about a new possibility of seafood…

One day, we talked to other cruisers in the area and they told us about the snails they found on the rocks at low tide and how tasty they were. They showed us one of the shells and with that information we set out “hunting” one day ourselves. At lowish tide, we took the dinghy to our “private” beach – and island – and walked along the recently exposed rocks. I was distracted by a whole array of funny sea creatures I’d never seen before and by the amazing scenery, which my camera couldn’t keep up with. Mark – the better focused and committed of the two of us – found plenty of snails. Dinghy bailer in hand (we did bring a knife, which was not needed to pick them up, but forgot a bucket or bag to put our catch in), he managed to fill the broken pitcher up. I also found a “pile” of shells, which looked a bit different than his ones, but added to the lot.

Back at home, we faced the question “Now what?” Some online site mentioned a four day waiting period – so the snails would “get rid of all their gooey stuff” – before cooking the animals, but who wants to wait eating the catch of the day? So, we boiled the bunch for five minutes, removed the snails from their shells and cut all the dark and yucky stuff away. What we had left was barely visible! Mark cooked up a wonderful pasta sauce, tossed the handful of snail meat in it, and we each enjoyed our seafood flavored meal, while hunting (again!) for the ten chewy white bits. Conclusion: it was a lot of work for some pasta flavoring, but it was an entertaining activity and we might do it again one day! That day, we will bring a bucket, though, and I’ll wear my glasses…

On the left: the meat for the meal; on the right: garbage

One of the creatures (cute, little slug) I spotted in a pool of water, while Mark did the hard work.

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