St. Mary’s Islands: A Unique Geological Wonder

The name, “St. Mary’s Islands” was etched in my mind from childhood days… and no wonder, it was my mom, from whom I heard about this wonderland.

The name itself was very catchy and a thirty minute ferry trip to an island in the middle of Arabian sea was something really dreamy for a small kid who had hardly seen a beach.

St. Mary's Island-21Once we zeroed in Mangalore as our weekend hub, the first place that came to my mind was this tiny tropical island.

The journey to the Island starts from Malpe fishing harbor, which is around 5 k.m from Udupi, westward. Coming from Mangalore, we had to take a left turn at the main junction in NH-17 near Udupi.

Reaching Malpe bus stand, we could easily find the harbor gate and we need to proceed further and take a left to the wharf. The ferry service starts at 9.30 am from the harbor.

As soon as we parked and got down from the car, we took tickets. It costs Rs 100 for adults and Rs 50 for children.

We could find a boat, full of tourists, leaving the wharf, but didn’t have to wait for long, as there was a decent crowd and the next boat got ready for journey pretty quickly.

St. Mary's Island-1St. Mary's Island-11St. Mary's Island-5As we entered the open sea from the channel, we could spot the island and interesting rock formations all around. The island is around 6 km from the harbor and it took 30 minutes to reach.

St. Mary's Island-10St. Mary's Island-9As the ferry cannot get so close to the shore, we had to take a smaller boat and it was a real nice experience :)

The first thing that caught our attention was the crystal clear water and the interesting rock formations.

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There were some options for water sport with water scooters and all.

Swiftly we moved to the west side of the island, through the coconut groves and found one of the most interesting beach I had seen.

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The best part about this island is the hexagonal shaped columns of basalt rock formations. This is the only place in India, where this unique geological features are seen and classified as a National Geological Monument.

While my family was having a nice time at the beach, I tried to explore the island to the max. and capture images. There was plenty of action all around and it was really great to watch people in this beautiful setting.

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After spending a couple of hours, all got exhausted under the bright sun and the packed lunch got vanished in a few minutes :)

I am sure, if we were allowed to spend the evening to watch sunset, it would have been an unforgettable experience. But the last boat leaves the island by 5pm and there was no point waiting for that.

We decided to wind up our picnic and catch the boat back to the main land.

St. Mary's Island-37St. Mary's Island-39I said adieu to St. Mary’s island with the fulfillment of a childhood dream :)

A few suggestions :

It is always better to reach the island early and leave by afternoon unless you are planning for a full day outing. There is no provision for food and water in the island or toilet facilities.

Do carry enough water and eatables and don’t forget to apply sunscreen lotions and take umbrellas.

Best Time to Visit:

It’s better, not to plan this trip during monsoon months (June to September), as the boat service could get effected by bad weather conditions.

Places to Stay:

The nearest town of Udupi has wide range of options for accommodation.

At the same time, Mangalore, which is around 60 km away, is a big city, has all kinds of options.

Where to Eat:

If you are a vegetarian, Udupi is one of the best place in South India to try different kind of veg. food :)

How to Reach:

The nearest airport is Mangalore and the nearest rail head is in Udupi.

By road, If you are coming from Bangalore, you need to first reach Mangalore and then proceed northward taking National Highway-17

 

 

Weekly Photo Challege: Twinkle

The unexpected December rains made everything looks so fresh and vibrant…

A morning stroll in the garden was so refreshing and given an opportunity to take some images for this week’s challenge.

The attempt to capture the wonders of nature was a realization that nothing is even remotely comparable to the wonderful camera created by nature itself, our eyes :)

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Gone, But Not Forgotten, Singapore Days

It was almost five years back, but who could forget their first trip together after wedding :)

Our trip was to the stunning city state, Singapore.

Let me share a few images from the famous Singapore Zoo, for this week’s photo challenge.

The best part about this Zoo is the ambiance, you feel like you are walking in a rain forest, an unforgettable experience, indeed.

Oh, this is my 100th post!!!

Thank you all for the support and encouragement :)

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Budget Cruise in Pristine Kerala Backwaters

Around six hours of boat journey in the pristine backwaters of north Kerala, for less than a Dollar.

Would you take it?

All you need is, a day to spare.

Backwater_18I planned this journey many a times, but couldn’t make it, till yesterday.

I was free for the day and needed a story so badly. I called up the boat house for the schedule and came to know that, there is one starting at 10 am from “Kotti Jetty”, which is near Payyanur Railway station.

As usual, it was a race against time for me and a photo finish :)

Being a weekday, there was hardly anyone around and the boat crew (Five people) out numbered the passengers.

Backwater_1Backwater_2As the boat entered the backwater and traveled due south, the Ezhimala hills provided a perfect backdrop.

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Once it reached Thayyil Jetty, it reversed it’s direction and started the long journey northward following a  zig zag pattern across the width of the backwater.

Landscape looked monotonous on both the banks for the untrained eyes. But there was a unique ecosystem so alive and thriving.

Most of the passengers used the boat to cross the backwater as there was only one bridge connecting the mainland to Valiyaparamba (narrow strip of land sandwiched between the sea and backwater).

Backwater_3Backwater_15It was really interesting to just sit and watch people in action with a cool breeze on your face and thousand shades of green cooling your eyes and mind.

Backwater_7Backwater_14Backwater_17We reached “Ayitti” jetty, by 11.30 am and there was a break for lunch. 12.30 pm, we resumed our journey and reached the northern most point of the trip(Padanna) by 1.15 pm.

After a small break we started the return trip and I tried to capture something I missed in the morning.

Backwater_6Backwater_12Backwater_13Backwater_16For the final leg of the journey, I planned a little twist, and jumped off the boat on the other bank, near the beach. This is my favorite beach in the whole world, solely for the reason, that, you could find not even a single soul for kilometers in either direction.

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Backwater_20As the sun started to descend, I collected shells for my daughter and waited for the country boat to come.

It was a long wait, but in the lap of nature,  never a tiring one.

Suggestions on boat trip:

It’s always better to take the first three rows. Engine, being in the middle of the boat, causes quite some noise and vibration and it’s felt more in the rear seats.

Where to Have Food:

There is hardly any shop near the starting point (Kotti) and no option to buy anything on the way. There is a small hotel near the Ayitti boat office, which is 90 minutes away from the start. So, better take food and water along.

Where to Stay: You have some really good hotels to stay in Payyanur, the nearest town.

If you would like to finish the day, exploring the virgin beaches of valiyaparamba, and spend the night at one of the home stays, you have got some interesting options as well.

Best Time to Explore: For the boat journey it hardly matters, but, if you would like to have a great time at the beaches, it’s better to avoid the monsoon months (June to September). For mild temperatures and clear skies, you can plan for the winter months of December and January.

Boat Timing: Boat is scheduled to start from “Kotti” boat jetty at 6.30 AM, 10 AM and 4.15 AM.

If you are planning for a to and fro journey in a single boat, you can opt for the 10 AM one, which returns to the starting point by 4 PM.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Converge, Kottappuram Foot Bridge

Let me take this week’s theme literally :)

The subject here is a long foot bridge over a beautiful back water in north Kerala…

Please have a look :)

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