Monday, 19 December 2016

St. Mary's Islands - Coconut Island

Boats near beach - St Mary Islands

There are no words to describe the adventurous and yet fun filled boat ride from Malpe beach to the St Mary's Islands / Coconut Island.  This was my second venture straight in to the Arabian sea. The previous one being an official assignment to board a container ship at outer anchorage, Goa port on a Sunday- 2005 with Indian Customs! 

An islander's life for 2 hours: Yes I became an islander for 2 hours. Strolled the complete length of the islands, picked up beautiful shells, sipped on coconut water, enjoyed walking and wading in the azure blue waters of St. Mary Islands. The bright neon green mangroves provide a striking background along with the tall and lofty coconut trees.

The rock formations will provide one with an opportunity to imagine Mother Nature at work!
An hour is all we get at this island. And after that the boat captain (the helmsman) signals to board the boat... it is time to bid bye to this beautiful place!

How to reach St. Mary's Islands
The only way of getting to the islands is by ferry boat. Regular ferry service ply the 6 km distance from the Malpe fishing harbor (which has a ship building yard also) to the islands. However, the frequency of these boats may vary depending on the number of tourists visiting.

About the St. Mary's Islands
St. Mary's Islands, also known as Coconut Island and Thonsepar, are a set of four small islands in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Malpe in Udupi, Karnataka, India. They are known for their distinctive geological formation of columnar basaltic lava.
St Mary Islands

Scientific studies indicate that the basalt of the St. Mary's Islands was formed by sub-aerial subvolcanic activity, because at that time Madagascar was attached to India. The rifting of Madagascar took place around 88 million years ago.[2]

The islands form one of the four geological monuments in Karnataka state, one of the 26 Geological Monuments of India declared by the Geological Survey of India in 2001. The monument is considered an important site for "Geo Tourism

Historical facts
According to folk legend, in the year 1498, Vasco da Gama landed at St. Mary's Islands on his journey from Portugal, fixed a cross on the island and named one of these islands, O PadrĂ£o de Santa Maria, as a dedication to Mother Mary, before proceeding to Kozhikode in Kerala.[3] It is from this name that the islands got their current name

Rock formations - St Mary Islands
Geological facts
The columnar basaltic lava found in these Islands, which is very well developed in the basalts of Deccan Traps, exhibit an imposing range of hexagonal shaped or multi-faced (polygonal) columns split into a horizontal mosaic. In geological terms these are called "columnar joints".[1] The lava rocks form regular five, six or seven-sided pillars, called "laminar lava", and are found in varying heights in all the islands; the tallest of the columns is about 6 m (20 ft). Considering the importance and rarity of such an occurrence, these islands were classified as a National Geological Monument in 2001 by the Geological Survey of India.[4][6]

The Deccan Traps, that formed during Cretaceous–Eocene time about 60 million years ago. emerged from the vast deluge of hot molten basaltic lava in the western part of India which is now seen as flat topped hills and step like terraces

Important : Carry a light bag with adequate fresh water. Apply sunscreen lotion and Try wearing a chinese hat. You will need these as the climate is hot near the island! Please avoid littering. Please carry trash back to the mainland. Respect Mother Nature!
Prepare for a 3 hour adventure involving 15-20 minutes boat ride one way. It will take an hour to stroll and cover the island. Carry an extra pair of clothes in case you want to take a swim. Avoid slimy rocks underneath water..they are simy and slippery.

Unforgettable boat ride to St Mary Islands

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