I’ve written earlier about Los Tules, our home for six months — a former coconut-palm plantation, complete with fear of coconut missiles falling from sixty feet. Amazingly, there’s no concussion wing at the local hospital.
How do they avert danger (and certain litigation)? They harvest the coconuts by climbing up trees with machetes between their teeth.
Two men arrive at the base of a tree: a climber and a catcher. The climber carries an elaborate apparatus made from rope that he uses to crawl up the tree:
Nothing fancy here. No REI-style pitons and harnesses. (No Fiji-style bare feet, either.) Just ropes. He moves quickly:
In 15 seconds he reaches the top, grabs the machete, and starts chopping:
He attaches a long rope to the bunch before it falls, and the catcher on the ground lowers it down. No missiles fall from sixty feet:
The climber continues to hack. Detritus falls, and so do a surprisingly large number of fronds:
A cleanup crew follows, and eventually the coconuts are all gathered near the parking lot, where they’re hurled, bucket-brigade style, into the back of a pickup and hauled to market.
Shredded coconut meat is available in bulk in the upscale markets, but the raw fruit — husks and all — is also sold on the streets. They’ll remove the husks if you like, an option we suggest you choose.
All together now, sing! “I’ve got a luv-a-ly bunch of coconuts….“
Beautiful pictures Thomas of the harvest of the coconuts.
You should have gotten a free bunch of coconuts since you live there!!
Thanks for the thought, Mapi. But living here is like living in an apple orchard in October: the windfall is enough to keep us in coconuts for the rest of our lives.
Tom – (No Fiji-style bare feet, either.) – are you referring to the keifer? As he said when honored with the “Living legend” award at a fairly recent Rock and Roll museum induction ceremony in NYC – “The legend part was easy. It was the living part that was a bitch!”
Great stuff on your blog… thank you!
OK. I admit I’ve never seen them harvest coconuts in Fiji. I just assume they scale up trees wearing little more than a loin cloth. That’s what you always see in pictures, right?
Love the quote, BTW.