Thursday, October 21, 2010

Astola Island - A Dream Yet to Come True!

Approximately 30 nautical miles from Pasni, located a rare and uninhabited island in the Arabian Sea. The island, shown as Astola on the atlas while famous as Haftlar (seven hills) among locals, is a 200 feet high flat surface with a vertical drop on its North face. The Arabian Sea atoll is famous among scuba divers, because of crystal clear water, and air travelers who report a breathtaking bird eye view while traveling between Karachi and Makran Coast cities.

Due to its desolated nature, the island is abode to various marine species, notably green turtle and Astola viper, and birds. Astola remains inaccessible during Monsoons (June to August) but then serves as a base for local fishermen during the fishing season. A 2-3 night camping looks enough to explore the 4 square kilometer island, however, scuba lovers may enjoy longer stays as well. For seafood maniacs, the adventure camping would be a perfect treat as the place is favorite among fishermen because of the top quality lobsters, jumbo shrimps, and oysters; loads of which can be bought against few pennies. Also, ruins of an antique Hindu Mandir attributed to Kali Devi (the Goddess of Death) and a mosque attributing to the legendary Hazrat Khizr are also present there.

There is a flip side also as there is no regular transport between the isle and the mainland, instead one has to either negotiate customized trips at Pasni jetty or feel lucky if some fishermen agree to carry them along. Because of this uncertainty, I have yet to make the voyage. All I sorted out in my three consecutive trips to Pasni last month is that one should have at-least two nights to make it feasible plus a group in the multiple of 4-5 will be required to make it economically optimum. Now I am looking for a bunch of friends having a pinch of adventure and who can afford the speed boat fuel. Can’t wait!

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