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Posted by the deTerra diarist

How do kitchen crew?

Pictured: Not George Iona! This anonymous coconut tree climber is harvesting the tasty treats at the top of the tree!

Now, you all know just how much I love trees and anything tree-related – I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was today when I learned about a new timber-centric sport which is just absolutely fantabulous! A gentleman from the beautiful Cook Islands, in the South Pacific, has been crowned the first winner of the world championships in coconut tree climbing. You read that correctly, my fun-lovin’ friends – coconut tree climbing has a new champion and his name is George Iona.

Coconut trees are a view to behold and whilst I have never clambered to the top of one myself, I suspect the sights to be seen from the top are quite spectacular; the competition was held in French Polynesia which looks incredible enough from the ground.

Coconut tree climbing is traditionally done to harvest the delectable coconuts at the top, and the competition is a celebration of the skills handed down over many generations. Now, these guys make it look incredibly easy – George Iona won the race in just 5.62 seconds – but climbing a coconut tree is trickier than it looks. It seems many pros use rope or cotton tied between their feet to act as a hold on the tree trunk as they go, holding with their arms then moving their legs, then holding with their feet and ties to move their arms up – the rope stops them sliding back down the tree. Some crazy climbers just do it with bare hands and feet, but with some trees reaching 60 feet tall I think I’ll just leave it to the professionals!

If you don’t plan on climbing coconut trees any time soon there are a multitude of things that you can do with a coconut. The delicious fleshy inside has a mellow flavour which can be used for sweet or savoury dishes, with coconut milk and cream being particularly popular in curries in its native lands. The tough outer hussk has been historically used to make armour but is now used in a range of products from compost to furniture construction. No wonder those guys want to get to the top of the trees so quickly! What is your favourite use for coconuts? Let us know!

Ta ta for now,

The deTerra Diarist


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