Friday, August 29, 2014

The coconut tree climber

Recently when I had been to Kerala (south India), I saw this guy named Thomachan who came to climb the coconut tree. Everyone kept talking about the “tree climbing machine” But what this guy had was not a machine but a contraption which helped him to climb the tree.

The design was simple. The contraption gets locked on to the tree when you put your weight on it (by stepping on it) There were two, one for each leg.



He carefully strapped the pair on to the tree and climbed up with confidence.  


Once he reached the top, he cut lose all the coconut that was ready to be plucked. In all we got 32 coconuts from this single tree.  


I was comparing this with a black and white picture of mine where I could climb a coconut tree half way without any assistance. (this was clicked about 45 years ago)


OK, in case you are wondering how I did it, this particular tree had nicks carved out in the trunk to enable the toddy tapper to climb up.   

Coming back to our guy Thomachan, while he was gathering all the coconuts, I saw him picking up an aluminium coat hanger. I asked him where it come from. He said “It is usually the crows, they take it from the clothesline to build their nest”   


Now that rang a bell. I remember seeing the same phenomena here in Pune just a month ago. In fact there were two hangers that were used in the crow’s nest here in Pune.


Here it is seen from another angle clicked again after a month. Probably the hangers slipped down after a heavy downpour.



Have to give  credit to the crows that they chose to pick only aluminium hangers (being lightweight) The ingenuity of the crows are universal, even if they are separated by about 1200 kms. (distance from Pune to Cochin)

Have made a small video to show how Thomachan climbed the coconut tree.


45 comments:

Aaditi Joshi said...

Wow.. New info for me.. I will definitely share this with my father.
We have coconut trees, and if we can get this aid.

Regards,
Aadi
(favshireen.blogspot.in)

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Ingeniuous - the climber AND the crows! I have seen rope assisted tree shinning but this contraption is totally new to me. YAM xx

orvokki said...

Interesting posting.
Very lovely photos and new info for me, too.
Have happy end of summer time.

Joanne Noragon said...

I wonder if the crows took aluminum hangers because they are shiny. I can't see they are providing much substance for the nest.
I recently had a very old and tall tree removed. The young man who did the climbing used gear that worked in the same fashion as your coconut climber. Engineering.

Sandee said...

Well, this is very interesting. Crows steal the coat hangers to build their nests was also a surprise.

Have a fabulous day. ☺

Jim and Sandie said...

I watched Hawaiians climb coconut trees but that "machine" would make it so much easier. Osprey often use old fishing line in their nests which can cause problems if they get tangled in it.

Sherry Ellis said...

Those crows have an interesting sense of interior design!

Anilkumar Kurup said...

Amazing. Nevertheless the idea of dwarf palms must be promoted. There are varieties that grow about 6 to 87 feet in an whole life time .
No hazard from crows or swarm of wasps.

TexWisGirl said...

the hangers are funny. crows will pick up anything! at least the tree climber has some equipment to help him!

padmaja said...

I have seen a similar technique, a little better in fact in Muscat which is used to climb date trees. Nice post, all the best in the blog exchange program!

Jeannette said...

I might like the black and white photo the best...

Fun60 said...

It is always the simplest of tools that are the best.

Julia said...

What an interesting post. Even with the 'machine', the whole process looks very dangerous - and that knife!

Brian Miller said...

how interesting...his tree climbing machine is similar to what pole climbers here use...and i could def see a crow using a hanger...

George said...

Thanks for an interesting post. The tree-climbing 'machine' is interesting, as is information about the crows using clothes hangers when building a nest. I like the picture of you climbing the tree.

Christine said...

interesting process!

Sharmila said...

Awesome! In Bengal they climb with only a thick rope made of local grass bound around the man and the tree. Just slide the rope upwards and jump up the required length ... not cuts on the trees.
These men are truly good.

Splendid Market said...

Love the innovation, the tree climbers and the crows!

NatureFootstep said...

interesting story. :)

Chirasree Banerjee said...

You are a keen observer! Liked your black and white tree climbing photo..

Stephanie Faris said...

I was thinking that looked like a lot of work, but it's worth it for coconuts.

Locomente said...

They never fail to awe me...
Thanks for sharing!

Daisy said...

Joe, I always learn so much when I visit your blog. Thank you. This was a very interesting post. That was fascinating to see how his own weight held him safely to the tree. I enjoyed seeing the picture of you from years past and watching the video too.

Medeia Sharif said...

Interesting post. I've briefly seen pictures of climbers, but didn't know how it was done.

Marie said...

That was really fascinating! I can remember seeing where the tree climber would have a rope tied around his two ankles and around the tree trunk and use that to hoist himself up a little at a time, but I've never seen anything like this metal contrivance. Very smart! Thanks so much for coming by my blog and visiting!

Deb @ PaperTurtle said...

Very interesting - I've never seen anything like this before. And that is really cool how the crows used the wire clothes hangers in their nest! Clever bird.

Thank you for visiting my blog and taking time to leave a nice comment. :o)

Bhavikk Shah said...

Hello Sir,
Thanks for your Visit and for ur votes I too have voted for you
All the best sir
Have a great day Ahead
Regards
Bhavikk shah

Nicki Elson said...

I have got to get a pair of those coconut climbers in case I ever make it onto Survivor. Oh, those crafty crows!

Theresa Mahoney said...

That is a very interesting tree climbing device. We had several rotten trees cut down from our yard a few years back and they just used a rope pulley system, which was fascinating it its own way too.

Anonymous said...

This equipment has played a big role in women,s emancipation. Climbing trees required a strength associated only with males so coconut tree climbing was done only by men.
The Kerala govt now trains women free and soft loans the equipment to them.
This has also meant a steady workforce as most men drank the earnings as the job was considered dangerous - D'Cruz Brian

Nisha said...

Well, evolution tells us that we were awesome tree climbers before :D

Your picture from 45 years ago is really nice.

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Liz Blocker said...

That's really, really cool - that contraption is so simple and yet so smart. I had no idea about crows and coat hangers!!

Black Jack's Carol said...

So much of interest in this post. I climbed my first tree EVER a couple of months ago. It was a little tiny tree with easy toe holds, but it made me happy. I love the simplicity of that contraption and the coat hangers story just blows me away. I love crows and have one nearby that I've named Cory. She meets me every morning and takes a few of my dogs salmon treats from my hand. Thank you for listening and for a great post :)

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pooja mahimkar said...

Interesting!

Katrin said...

Animals are so smart. Such a great idea of the crows to use the coat hangers for building a nest!

Barbara Etlin said...

Fascinating process! Thanks for sharing it.

Lady Lilith said...

Now that is cool. Thanks for sharing the video to go along.

A Cuban In London said...

Brilliant. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

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Ruby said...

I was in awe when I first saw the tree climber in our garden too. Great pics.

T. Becque said...

Pretty neat contraption to get the job done! It's always so interesting to see how others live life!

Preeti said...

Haha crows picked up Al. hangers? So surprising. I could visualize a crow carrying a hanger in its beak!

Karen Xavier said...

Interesting... heard about this contraption used to climb coconut trees, but never seen it in action. By the way, nice music in the video....