Vasco de gama landed in one of the many isle’s located in the vicinity of Malpe in search of spices from the Konkan coast. Malpe is one of the oldest fishing harbour on the west coast of India. It is situated 70 kms from Mangalore. If one wants to reach Malpe from Mangalore catch a Bus, since the roads are in various stages of repair from Mangalore to Udupi. Get down at the border of Udupi bypass, Kinimulki and then catch an auto who will charge you Rs 70/- to take you to the Malpe Jetty which is 10 kms away. Alternatively one can catch a local bus from Mulki sururban bus stand. If one wants to drive down then deviate on the NH47 the goa highway after hotel Sarovar to the left and travel straight to reach the gate of Malpe fishing harbour. Pay an entry fee and proceed near the yard, and turn left and reach dead end on the right there is Nandini Milk booth where the tickets for ferry is sold for Rs 70/- per head for up and down trip.
A ship building yard is located on the Malpe harbour and plenty of fishing boats are parked at the entrance to the harbour. If one is lucky he can get fresh catch at auction.
The journey to St’ Mary’s Isle is adventure filled with scenic beauty of distant Lighthouse Isle, the water is blue because of low pollution. One has to change ferry midway, and jump into smaller ferry. We have noticed there are no life jackets in the ferry, which I hope authorities will make it mandatory. Remove your shoes or leather slipper when you get down, one is filled with knee deep water.
“Look at the unique geographical formations, known as basaltic rocks which is a splinter from the molten lava. The unique hexagonal formation of the rocks is a very rare natural phenomenon. It is as if nature has carved a monument to celebrate the birth of human life on earth.” I consider St’ Mary’s Isle a virgin Island.
The name is derived from El Padron de Santa Maria, a Portuguese dedication to Mother Mary by Vasco de gama when he stepped foot on this isle in 1498 before landing on calicut coast. Mother Mary is hailed as Virgin mother, therefore I consider it as virgin Isle. Lol
St’ Mary’s Isle is a popular film shooting spot for kannada film crew. Puttana Kanagal introduced St Mary’s Isle to the world through his film Shuba Mangala. Puttana Kanagal is credited to be the first kannada director who took to large scale outdoor shooting and exposing the beautiful locales in all its glory. In the words of yesteryears actress Aarti “Kanagal will be always remembered by many, as he had a penchant for introducing new faces and many people who are big names today in Kannada industry owe their success to him. I have acted more than ten films with him which was an unforgettable experience for me. Kanagal was also among first to introduce outdoor shooting in Karnataka, and had an uncanny eye for spotting the most beautiful locales. “
I strongly feel that KSTDC or ASI should take charge of these beautiful set of Isle and begin landscaping the Isle to bring in more greenery on the Isle. The heat is sapping one needs to carry moisturer and sunscreen other one is bound to get sun burnt in Summer.
The rocks are slippery so one has to carefully trudge, never step on the wet spots one is bound to slip. There are some safe areas for swimming stick to those spot only otherwise the tide can sweep one off the feet. There are many tragic deaths in the past. One should be aware of the danger.
One should definitely venture and discover the Virgin Isle, St’ Mary’s Island @ Malpe along with visit to Sree Krishna temple @ Udupi. Accomodation facility is available on the NH 47 and Udupi town. Carry plenty of water and Juices. Enjoy your trip with lot of pictures and videos. The trip to these Isle does not cost much and it is ideal for family and friends to discover the wonders of nature.