Saturday, August 29, 2009

How To Climb A Coconut Palm

By Darryl Mason

On Bounty Island, in Fiji, the other week, I wandered into a tourist demonstration by a staff member of how to retrieve a coconut "before it gets ripe and falls on your head".

The staffer went up the palm tree faster than I can run on horizontal surfaces. Perhaps seven or ten seconds to reach the top. It was stunning to see. Compared to how I climb stairs, it was a superhuman feat. The dangers were obvious, to slip at the top would have meant shattered bones bursting through skin, minimum. We were on an island. Rescue would have taken an hour, or more. He was loudly, enthusiastically applauded by all.

The staffer, however, looked a little devastated later when I told him that some Australians don't need to risk their lives and limbs, like he'd done, to get their coconuts. "A ladder!" No, I explained, they kicked them down with a meticulously aimed football. "Football?" Yes, football. He'd never heard of this technique, but intended to give it a try the first chance he got.

If you go to Fiji in a few years time, and you can no longer experience the incredible sight of a local literally running up a coconut palm because they're all using footballs to kick them down, blame me.

For someone who used to lick the chocolate off Bounty Bars and throw the rest away, that fresh coconut tasted absolutely delicious.