Up next, was Malpe Beach.
Malpe is around 50 kilometres south of Maravanthe. But as we drove down Edapally-Panvel Highway, this time, it felt like our destination was farther away than we thought it was. It was only when I looked up the map on my phone that I realised we had ended up some distance away from a right turn we were supposed to take. We’d missed a road sign.
When we finally got to Malpe, it was late afternoon and we hadn’t had our mid day meal as yet. So the first thing we did was to go get some lunch before the restaurant, in the resort we were staying, closed for the afternoon. We were staying at a seaside resort in Malpe. From the property’s website we’d got the idea that the resort was on the beach, literally. However, when we got there, we found that it was a actually a place facing the beach.
Anyway, because it was a beach-facing resort and the restaurant overlooked the sea, we sat at a table by the window and watched the Arabian Sea and the goings-on on the beach. I noticed that an event was about to take place on the beach and hoped it wouldn’t mar this sojourn of ours in the last leg of our coastal trip.
Later that evening, after the kids had had some indoor time (read cartoon time for the older one and nap-time for the then 11-month old) we set out for a stroll on Malpe Beach.
Malpe Beach was full-house that evening. Somehow, to me the throng didn’t seem unpleasant at all; it felt just right for this beach. The hundreds of human silhouettes against the warm tones of the twilight sky seemed to belong there; to give Malpe beach its festal air. It looked like some boats hadn’t called it a day even though the sun was long gone.
As we walked further up the beach, we saw some lights; there was more action. There was a fair (n) underway. And that meant some popcorn and cotton candy and some fun round-and-round rides for our 5-year old. He got his adrenaline fix from some car and bike rides and a mini-roller coaster trip. But the highlight of the evening was that he went on a Ferris wheel for the first time and was so proud of himself.
After his very happening evening on the beach, we decided to call it a day. As we walked back, we found that the crowds had thinned but there was one activity going on in full swing. There were numerous BJP* flags on the beach, a make-shift dais, rows and rows of chairs and a red runner leading up to the stage that confirmed that the beach was going to play venue for a political event the following day.
I dreaded the noise that would be blasted through those speakers but I still looked forward to the next day because my fascination for rock-formations was going to be fed.
After breakfast the next morning, we were back on the beach, this time to take a boat to St. Mary’s Island, a few kilometres off the coast of Malpe.
St. Mary’s Island
In Malpe, as the beach slopes into the sea, the ferry comes pretty close to shore but we still had to wade into some water to get onto it. The boat ride to St. Mary’s Island was around 20 minutes. As we left the shore my eyes began to focus on the row of islands I had spotted from the beach. And I wondered which one we were headed for. The boat took us to the farthest one on the right, which also seemed to be the largest of the lot.
As we neared our destination, the rocks that made up the island began to show what they were actually made of. Pillars of Basaltic rocks. That is what St. Mary’s island and its neighbouring rocky areas owe their existence to.
On St. Mary’s Island there were coconut palms, (I hear this island is also called Coconut Island) some beach and of course the basalt formations. In the 45 minutes we had to spend on the island, I spent most of it looking at these geometrical rocks, the waves lashing against them and the mollusc life on them. I noticed a few big dark crabs too on those equally dark rocks.
I must add that the beach here on St, Mary’s island is both lovely and clean and has a character of its own.
Some time later were were back on the water and on the way to the mainland when I noticed that Malpe had a pretty long stretch of sand. I wonder how many kilometres of beach this place has.
Getting back on land this time was not as easy. Even when boat we were on, got quite close to the beach, it kept going round in circles quite like it was awaiting permission to touch land. Heated words were being thrown between the person who was manning the boat and the team who were there to pull the boat into shallow waters. The motor of the boat was still running and the tourists on board were getting bored of the wait, some men even contemplating a swim to the beach. Obviously, there was a misunderstanding between the two sides, and the men on the beach refused to help this particular boat on to land. A few minutes later we saw another boat, a bigger craft approaching the shore. As more hollering and trying to reach an understanding, went on, the bigger boat kept getting closer and closer to our boat, quite like it was out of control. Amidst the all the shouting and shrieking from the passengers on both boats, there was the sound of wood against wood and both boats let out a shiver. As the bigger boat tried to stand still beside our boat, we were asked to jump onto the already full boat. There was help but it was a far-from-pleasant transfer from one wobbly craft to another. Thankfully, without further incidence, the big one, now with ‘one full load and another half’ was received with grace. Strong hands helped us into the knee deep water and we let out a sigh of relief as we felt sand beneath our feet.
So, after all the beach-hopping we’d been doing we ended up doing some boat-hopping as well; this when the boats were still in pretty-deep water. Now if we hadn’t had little kids along with us, I might have referred to this as a fun or thrilling experience. I reiterate: it was far from pleasant. So, if you have plans to take a trip to St. Mary’s Island from Malpe beach, this could happen. 😉 Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Nevertheless I’m glad we made that trip to St, Mary’s Island. Being that close basaltic rock formations, I would have been terribly sorry if I had left Malpe without seeing them.
Would you like to see a post full of those rocks that filled me with wonder? That, coming soon.
*BJP – Bharatiya Janata Party (a major political party in India)