Hiking Mont Mokoto

For the past month we have been hiding out in the smaller motus due to the quarantine.  Which has been good in that we have more liberties and no people.  But they are super small and do not offer many opportunities to walk, let alone hike.  Mangareva offers the best hiking in the Gambiers.  There are two mountains, Mont Duff and Mont Mokoto.  Last year we hiked Mont Duff.  We decided to hike Mont Mokoto this year with our friends on HooDoo.

Mont Duff is 441 meters tall and Mont Mokoto is supposedly 423 meters tall.  I say “supposedly” because two of our devices showed it at 430 meters.  So, your guess is as good as mine.  You start out taking the same route for both hikes.  The hike up is about 2.5 miles to the top.  At about 1.5 miles there is a split off where you have to decide which Mont you want to ascend. 

First you hike to the top of the saddle on a paved road under the intense sun.  Then at the turn off you go straight up but you are in the blessed shade of the trees.  Our young friends (under 30) and my goat of a husband attacked the hill with great speed.  I was a bit tamer and slower.  They kindly waited for me several times.

Mont Mokoto’s Trail

This is an example of the path we hiked through the trees in the shade.  There were some areas with boulders and rocks to climb over, but for the most part it was straight up on a nice cleared path.  Half way to the top we had a pretty view of the bay.

Yanell was kind enough to grab a few photos of the photographer. The first is in the midst of the trees

At the top of one of the mountains we could see the view of the top of Mont Mokoto.  In the shot below you can see Missy and Yanell in the foreground.  If you zoom in, you can see Matt almost at the crest of Mont Mokoto.  He is a small speck on the left side almost to the top.

Me trailing behind again, but still on the move!  Almost to the summit and I am so ready to be there already.

Bird Population

There are tons of birds in the Gambiers.  Just before the summit there was a sign explaining a little bit about them.  The four main birds are the white-tailed tropic bird, brown noddy, white, tern, Herald Petrel.  The Herald Petrel is slowly going extinct on the island.  There are less than 50 in the area and only one chick is produced per brood.  They are seen primarily between May and September which is the breeding season.  Their greatest enemies are the rats, cats, dogs, and goats.

View from the Top of Mont Mokoto

We had arresting views at the top of Mont Mokoto.  You could see Rikitea bay (left bay with boats) and the opposite bay which is home to several pearl farms.

Being at the top gave us great views of several other islands in the Gambiers.  First is a photo of Taravai (large island on right) and Agakauitai (smaller on left).

This is a photo of the three “rocks.”  Kamaka is the main island in the center where you can anchor.  The others are either not suitable for anchoring or only suitable for a day stop.

Three rock island

Three rock island

This is Bernard’s island or Aukena.

Aukena Island

Aukena Island

And of course, a photo of the four of us at the top of Mont Mokoto.

Overall, I walked 7.9 miles and over 19,000 steps today.  I made two runs to all the markets and put in extra miles before the hike.  Let’s just say that I was exhausted by the time we got back to the boat.  I showered and crashed on the couch.

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