West Indian Chiton

I was at Golf Ball Beach, and the security guard patrolling the beach pulled up in a 4 wheel drive ATV (all terrain vehicle). His name was Miller, and he and I were the only two on the beach. I was scaling and cleaning the porgie that I speared with my Hawaiian Sling.

He pointed my attention to the barnacle-like shells clinging to the rock that I was cleaning my fish on. He called them "kerbs" or "curbs" and said that they were delicious. (Here we go with the food and vegetable blog again, but I can't help it). He then took my filet knife and tried to pry one off the rocks. They are stuck to rocks as if they were glued with epoxy. You have to work and work and work to get them off, and in the process he bent my fillet knife.

However, he did manage to pry one off. It has a foot pad on it the colour of an orange coral. He cut off the foot pad with my knife. This is the edible part. Underneath was the guts, filled with the slime that the thing was eating. The guts were unappetizing. He cut the postage stamp size piece of flesh in half and popped one piece in his mouth. He proffered me the other piece, and I couldn't refuse. It was crunchy, like eating gristle, but it tasted good -- especially seasoned with the salted sea water.

He went on to say that the flesh had incredible powers and was considered Caribbean viagra. I didn't believe him, because the islanders say the same thing about conch as well.

Upon googling for kerb or curb, I found nothing. However I googled for edible shellfish and molluscs and found out that what I had been eating was the West Indian Chiton.

A few days later I found myself on the beach. I pried a few chitons off, and they made a great snack. Some day, I may collect enough to make a seafood linguine. I will tell you how it turns out. Who would have thunk that barnacles could be delicious.

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