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.
Once 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.
As 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.
As 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.
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.
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.
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.
I 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