Charna Island (also spelled Churna Island ) is located near Mubarak Goth, Kiamari Town in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. Locally known as ‘Cheerno,’ Churna Island is one of the most secluded and peaceful places for the underwater enthusiasts who wish for a quiet getaway. Churna Island is a small, uninhabited island located in the Arabian Sea, about 9 km (5.6 mi) west of the mouth of the Hub River called “Manjhar Beach”, at the boundary between the provinces of Balochistan and Sindh.. It is the presence of coral reefs around this island that attracts the number of big game fish around it. To top it off, there are secret caves around Churna Island for you to explore. Much like everything on the island, these caves are hidden to the average bystander. But, Churna Island, with its rugged charm and rich blue water, is worth a trip with family and friends. The small but breathtaking island is a perfect getaway from the fast-paced life of Karachi.
Churna is mostly used as a firing range by the Pakistan Navy. It is also used by tourists for activities such as scuba diving, freediving, underwater photography, hiking, speed boating, kneeboarding, wakesurfing, banana tubing, jet skiing, cliff diving and snorkeling.
The area surrounding Charna is popular for scuba diving because of the presence of widely varied marine life and different kinds of coral reef. According to Yousuf Ali, founder of the Karachi Scuba Diving Centre, “there are more than 60 types of corals found near Charna waters and many new corals started to flourish” after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Jellyfish are found in large numbers during October.
The best time to visit Churna Island is between the months of November to February, when the weather cools down. However, the ocean stays cool all year round, and one can visit anytime of the year.The Island, approximately 1.2km long, mostly rocky with no grass or sand. But, it still manages to attract tourists because of the mountains with different shades of green shrubbery growing on every rock, and the presence of varied marine life. One can see different kinds of hard coral assemblages growing on rock mounds and ridges around the area.
Churna Island has gained massive popularity since 2010, and became a well-known day trip for tourists. Because it is close to Mubarak Goth, the second largest fisherman locality in Karachi, local fishermen and their families are often found fishing near the Island. One can take an extremely pleasant bus ride from Mubarak Village to Manjhar Beach, through the beautiful rocky terrain under the open Karachi sky. From there, it will take about an hour long trip to Churna by boat. The Island has been particularly known as a hub for blue whales, sting rays and whale sharks. The boat ride to Churna is a treat in itself, with the sound of the waves and the low hum of the engine welcoming you to the island.
The water sports include cliff diving from a 30ft-50ft jump into the clear and clean water. But, the most attractive and popular activities on Churna Island are the underwater activities, that is snorkeling and scuba diving. One does not necessarily need a wetsuit here, as most sections of the water are comfortably warm. The island’s reef, and the animals within it are very diverse. From fish, to snakes and turtles, one is simply taken aback by the richness of a hidden world unbeknownst to so many. Other marine life around Charna includes the yellow-bellied sea snake, great barracuda, narrow-barred Spanish mackerel, cobia, mahi-mahi, skipjack tuna, angel fish, sea urchin, sea fan, oyster, ray fish and rare green turtle. The Pakistan Game Fishing Association (PGFA) holds national angling competitions near Charna