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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...


FRENCH POLYNESIA | Tuesday, 29 October 2019 | Views [332]

After today I reckon I’m a champion trekker on Mo’orea. Mouaputa, meaning “pierced mountain” in Tahitian, literally has a hole in it. Up for a rigourous challenge today I decided to tackle Mouaputa alone despite the recommendation of having a guide.

Much like Rarotonga and Savai’I, the main road hugs the coast of Mo’orea. I had to first hitchhike to 'Afareaitu and start the trek from there. When hiking in remote areas, I can’t stress enough the importance of letting someone know where you’re going. The local who dropped me off gave me the phone numbers of the police station and the fire station just in case I got lost or hurt. After what happened in New Zealand last year I don’t take any chances.

Despite French Polynesia’s reputation as a honeymoon destination, this massive archipelago only receives about 200,000 tourists per year. Once you leave the coast and venture onto some of the smaller inland roads, you see how many Polynesian people have little money and live simple lives. From the coast began my ascent from sea level to 830 metres. An American couple who had just completed the ascent told me I have a lot of altitude ahead and that a large group of secondary school students was up there. 

That couple was right: many sections are steep whilst having to go around tree roots. This trek is a true test of strength and endurance! Halfway up I had a nice view but felt like I was having a bath in my own sweat.

Some sections are extremely steep and require pulling yourself up with a rope. I thought Mt. Fuji was difficult but Mt. Mouaputa is perhaps just as difficult. Even though it’s much shorter in height, the climate and humidity drain your energy and make you sweat profusely. “Anything less than the summit is a failure,” I told myself. At the bottom of a long rope I said “OK, this is where I’m turning back” but I then told myself, “Chris Farrell, you must persevere.” Up that length of rope I pulled myself and then one more length of rope I was unable to go any higher. I was at the summit of Mt. Mouaputa! What an accomplishment. With tears of joy in my eyes I gazed down at Mo’orea whilst the clouds rolled by.

The 360 panorama is worth the effort. Soaring Juliett into the sky I had an awesome idea but the clouds made flying difficult. I managed to get a photo with Juliett of me on the summit. You can see me small on the summit to the right of the hole. 

Descending is just as difficult, if not more difficult, than ascending Mouaputa. You need not worry about your hands getting dirty because they will get dirty. At the halfway mark I signed the final geocache in Mo’orea. There are five in total (four traditional and one Earthcache) and I’ve found ‘em all. Today I ripped up my swimming shorts, so I ended up having to hitchhike home with a hole in the crotch. With the euphoria of accomplishing Mouaputa I had a chat with some Mormon missionaries whom I saw riding their bikes earlier. It made me wonder how they keep their white shirts so clean whilst cycling round the island. I’ve done many hikes and climbs on my travels but Mouaputa is one of the most difficult as well as rewarding accomplishments. When I finally made it back to the pension I spent 15 minutes in the shower scrubbing every part of my body. A shower and a good feed always feel and taste better after hard work, as does a glass of wine. There is no communal kitchen at Pension Motu Iti so there’s no place to chill white wine or cook your own food.

On this journey I’ve done a lot above yet almost nothing below. I didn’t even take a dip in the water in Pitcairn Island and I’ve only been swimming for a little bit the other day here in Mo’orea. Tomorrow I’ll be going on a snorkelling excursion with the opportunity to swim with stingrays. Mo’orea may be expensive but there is one word to describe it: dazzling!

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