St. Mary's island
About 6km from the Malpe coast into the Arabian Sea, one gets to see the palm-fringed St. Mary's Island which bears the cross that Vasco Da Gama placed when he landed in 1498. The island is 300m long and 100m wide. It is famous for its unique salt rock formations. Due to this geological importance, St. Mary's Island is declared as a National Geological Monument. It is also rated among Indias top 7 Natural Wonders by Jet Wings Magazine (November 2009).
St Mary's Islands off the coast of Karnataka are four islands of immense geological value. The hexagonal columns of rock on the islands are similar to those on the Giant's Causeway in Ireland and give clues to historic formation of land masses on the Earth's surface.
St. Mary's island - Malpe
These islands are 6 km out at sea and can be reached by ferry. The nearest harbour to these islands is the fishing harbour at Malpe from where there is a regular ferry service. The ferry plies between 8:30 am to 5:30 pm and accommodates 30 persons per trip.
St Mary's Islands were named "El Padron de Santa Maria" by the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama as a dedication to Mother Mary .Vasco da Gama is supposed to have landed on these islands in the course of his voyage to Calicut. The four largest islands are named Coconut Island, South Island, North Island, and Daryabahadurgarh Island.
Geological studies indicate that these islands were created at the time that Madagascar and Africa separated from India. The rocks are hexagonal in shape, columnar in form, and made of basalt. These rocks provide a convenient vantage point for tourists to catch a glimpse of Malpe harbour and the sunset over the Arabian Sea.