Tourist boat services to St. Mary’s Island resume at Malpe in Udupi
Udupi: With the coastal tourism season beginning, tourist boat services between Malpe in Udupi district and St. Mary’s Island have resumed.
The boat services to the island are available from Malpe Sea Walk and from Maple beach.
Rayappa, Commissioner, Udupi City Municipality and who is also the secretary of Malpe Beach Development Committee, headed by Udupi Deputy Commissioner K. Vidyakumari, said that the boat services from from the Sea Walk began on October 19 while it started from the beach on October 16. Water sports at Malpe Beach have also been allowed.
The services from the Sea Walk are available between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and it is available from the beach from 7.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.
Mr. Rayappa said that the boat operators were selected through bidding. Another agency will be selected for the maintenance of the beach. The bidding to select the agency is under progress.
Ganesh, proprietor, Ocean Adventures, offering both boat services and water sports at the beach, said that the main boats ferrying tourists to the island from the beach have washroom facility. It is an added facility to the tourists onboard the boats. The Ocean Adventures has introduced three main boats, each having a capacity to ferry a minimum of 25 persons, to the island while presently there are three speed boats and two jet skis for water sports. Banana ride has also been introduced in water sports, he said.
Also called Coconut Island, 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-metre-long and 100-metre-wide uninhabited island is dotted with coconut trees. The Udupi district administration bans tourist boat services to the island from late May to September during rainy season every year as the sea will be rough.
Mr. Rayappa said that as per the instructions of the Deputy Commissioner the committee has decided to avail the services of Home Guards to manage the security at the island. The Home Guards are presently being trained. They will be paid by the committee.
Presently and till the deployment of the Home Guards at the island, some personnel of the coastal security police are managing the security at the island when tourists are taken there.