There are people who love coconuts, and then there are people who really love coconuts. Those are the people willing to climb to the top of a coconut tree to make sure they’re getting the freshest of the fresh.
Well I became one of those people, but in order to climb a coconut tree, I first needed to learn how to climb a tree. And I promise you, it is not as easy as it looks.
Chris Van Vliet: “Where does this begin? When do you look at a coconut tree and go, ‘I want to climb that thing!'”
Hector Galvez, coconut tree climbing expert: “It’s kind of a mixture of really loving sports, being a cheapskate and loving delicious things. It’s like that perfect intersection.”
Coconut trees are everywhere in South Florida — and for some, like Hector Galvez, finding this is like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Chris Van Vliet: “So I guess the big question is once you get the coconuts, what do you do with them?”
Hector Galvez: “My wife loves the water, so sometimes I’ll bottle the water for her. We’ve also made coconut milk, which we’ll have with cereal. We’ve been known to have 20 to 60 coconuts at one time at the house.”
As you can see, Hector has perfected his technique after years of climbing.
Chris Van Vliet: “When people see you climbing a tree, do they think you’re crazy?”
Hector Galvez: “Most of the time they’re like, ‘I wish I could do that!'”
That’s exactly what I said! For our footwear, we gear up like we’re going diving instead of climbing.
Hector Galvez: “The reason for the dive booties is they’re really thin, they’re really responsive to the feet.”
And this is the secret weapon!
Hector Galvez: “It’s called a canga in Brazil. It’s basically a very thin beach towel.”
Now for the climbing.
Hector Galvez: “Biggest part is the initial jump. Put my hands on the tree and I’ll just go.”
Chris Van Vliet: “Woah! You make it look so easy!”
After a few pointers, it’s my turn.
Chris Van Vliet: “Oh yeah!”
Hector Galvez: “There you go, Chris! No stand, jump up with just your hands. Now jump up again.”
Chris Van Vliet: “Arggh! So close! OK, wow I’m exhausted. Oh man, my legs are burning.”
That wasn’t so good. Maybe the second attempt will be better.
*jumps up again*
Chris Van Vliet: “So close! Ugh! OK, let’s try again.”
I’m hoping the third time is a charm!
Hector Galvez: “Half squat, half squat. Yeah, my man! Ok! All right, Chris! Twist it!”
Chris Van Vliet: “I got one!”
Now it’s time to enjoy the fruits of our labor…
Chris Van Vliet: “We earned this! Cheers!”
If you have something you want to see me climb, scale, dive, ride, whatever … hit me up. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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