Udupi’s St. Mary’s Island a major crowd-puller

Located in Arabian Sea off Malpe Beach, it is known for basaltic rock formations

Published - May 16, 2017 01:23 am IST - Udupi

With summer and tourist season at its peak, the number of tourists visiting the picturesque St. Mary’s Island here has seen a big rise. The season will end on May 31.

Also called Coconut Island or Thonsepar, St. Mary’s Island is located 6.5 km off Malpe Beach, and is a group of four small islands in the Arabian Sea. Of the four islands, the northern island has basaltic rock formations in a hexagonal form. The basalt rock formations protruding out in different shapes were declared as a national geological monument by the Geological Survey of India in 1979. The 500-metres-long and 100-metres-wide uninhabited island is dotted with coconut trees.

There is a boat service available from the tourist jetty at Malpe to St. Mary’s Island from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily during off-monsoon months – September to May. This service is not available when the sea is rough. The to-and-fro charge per adult is ₹200 and ₹100 per child. The boat ride from the jetty to the island itself is a pleasure as it gives a panoramic view of Malpe beach. Three boats ferry the tourists from the jetty to the island.

Ganesh Malpe, one of the proprietors of the boat service, told The Hindu that around 400 people visit the island from March to May during weekdays. “But this number doubles on weekends or on days when there are continuous government holidays,” he said.

At the island you could spend your time climbing the rocks, washing your feet in the cool waters of the sea, or collecting shells. If you are adventurous, you can avail of the jet skiing, bumpy ride on speed boats, and banana rafting facilities at the island.

Besides local people, tourists from other districts, States and abroad too visit the island. Tarun Bangad from Indore said that he loved the beautiful coast of the island. “It is a clean beach. I liked my trip,” he said.

Jacqueline Gill from Dayton, Ohio, U.S., said that the basalt rocks formation on the island were beautiful. “I would like to come here again,” she said.

Monish Tourangbam, Assistant Professor, Department of Geopolitics and International Relations, Manipal University, said that the island was a nice place to hangout. He was visiting the island for the fourth time. “It is a tranquil place and gives a lot of peace of mind. It is a beautiful combination of sun, sea, and sand,” he said.

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