Ever since I harvested our one and only Trident Conch (named after the God of the Sea Poseidon and Amphitrite’s son Trident, messenger of the sea and merman), I’ve longed to make it into a Pū. Here’s the family 15 years ago when we caught our Trident Conch.
What is a Pū and why do you need one?
Sailors have a tradition of blowing their Pū to say goodbye at sunset. It helps signal the end of the day and to acknowledge thanks (Mahalo); I really like that tradition and have enjoyed hearing others’ in the anchorage.
Yet, I was afraid to chop off the end of my lovely shell in case I did it wrong.
How do you make it into a horn?
Several long-time cruising members of the Georgetown, Great Exhumas cruising community, conducted a conch horn seminar. With 210 boats anchored in this area, you can see it had a great turnout.
In addition to the Trident, Don and I made horns out of the two Queen Conch (Strombus gigas) shells Tali and I harvested last month (see my post on the yummy Conch Fritters).
Frank, S/V Local Knowledge, and his band of merry cruisers, brought a generator to power several diamond grinder cut off and sander wheels.
In addition to their expertise, Frank brought Bondo material to fill holes if the conchs came from the “Chat and Chill” conch cemetery. Why are there holes? Locals who purchase the conch commercially , receive the live conchs in a cluster, several tied together via holes made in the shell, so the conch can be kept live and nearby. This way, the conch salad is always made from fresh, live queen conch.
Don and I just had to bring the shells, a hammer, flat head screwdriver, and flat file.
All in all…
We had a terrific afternoon making horns, learning style technique from Holt, S/V Agandau, sound technique from Rhonda, S/V Rhondavous, and training with Serena, S/V Serena, for the 30 second blow length required to compete in the Georgetown Sailing Regatta competition. It was a VERY successful day.
Coast Guard icing on the cake
It’s been confirmed that if the US Coast Guard boards us, so long as we prove we can blow them, our conch horns meet the minimum safety requirements for “an efficient sound producing device”!