When travelling along the coast with the Hurtigruten on it's
Norwegian Classic Cruise
, you can see this small island called Indre Kvaroy, just a few minutes south of the Arctic Circle. Until 1958 this actually was a port of call for the Hurtigruten.
Let's show you more from this little coastal pearl located in Nordland county in Northern Norway, that in many ways can represent a typical Norwegian coastal community.
Indre Kvarøy is part of the Lurøy municipality, and something like 60 persons are living on the island.
Almost all the buildings are clustering on the Northern side, where you can find the sheltered harbour. Even from a distance it is easy to see the beauty of this island.
The Coat of Arms for Lurøy shows an old navigation marking for ships along the coast of Norway.
In the local dialect it is named Steinkjerring, where "Stein" means Stone, and "Kjerring" means Woman.
Lurøy municipality, just south of the Polar Circle, is a community of 2000 people spread over both mainland (40%) and the rest (60%) on as many as 1372 small and larger islands.
Indre Kvarøy is one of those islands.
You will be surprised to find out what a small community like Indre Kvaroy can show up:
Here you find a small, but important, grocery shop, the school, the community centre, a pub, and even a restaurant.
In 2011 the island got their own restaurant, Oleas Kitchen, which serves outstanding dishes.
Several people work at the factory Snekkerfabrikken A/S in Kvarøy, which is producing stairs for cabins and houses over the whole country.
And then last, but not least; The salmon farm that has fundamental importance to the community. In the former salmon slaughtery you will now find a factory making high quality products from crab. The factory employs several people, mostly women, and has great importance when it comes to making it possible for the people to live out here.
Let's show you:
For ages, Indre Kvarøy have had traditions for trading and shops. In the old days, islands like Kvarøy used to be important centres for the district around, but in our days the islands role is not what it used to be.
Today there is one small grocery store on the island, the Kvarøy Handel, which of course is very important to the citizens.
The small grocery store is open just a few hours a day, but saves a long trip with boat to the mainland to do the shopping.
The school in Indre Kvaroy has only 7 pupils. Normally this would end up in a close-down for any school, but if you look at the map and see the geographic position of this little island, you will understand it is not that simple.
During the dark time in the winter, when there hardly is any daylight at all, and the storms are raging the open ocean surrounding the island, nobody would want their little son or daughter to leave home in the total dark morning for an hours boat ride to school.
During the last years, the active little community at Indre Kvaroy has also built their own Community Centre, called "Bekkestua".
Here they come together for celebrating the Constitution Day on 17. May, for meetings, partys and for Midsummer dances.
The old building called Haukenesbrygga, is now fully restored, and is an interesting memory from the times gone by, and about the old days in Indre Kvarøy.
In the first floor there is a small, local museum, and the entrance to the small, exciting restaurant "Olea's Kitchen". On the second floor is the restaurant, that was opened in June 2011. The name "Olea's Kjøkken" can be translated like: "kjøkken" means "kitchen" and Olea is an old, traditional woman's name.
At the other end of the building, there is a beautiful apartment for rent, with kitchen, bathroom, livingroom and two bedrooms. And of course a beautiful seaview!
Here you can order delicious dinner after appointment with the owner, and the restaurant has seats for about 30 persons.
Excellent also for private parties and groups, in an old, traditional, but exciting interior.
By the entrance you can visit the small grocery museum.
Indre Kvarøy even has it's own pub, where people meet a few day's a week over a beer.
Nice interior, and you will find traditional dryfish (stockfish) hanging on the walls.
In the 1950's this island was an important center for other communitys in the surrounding district, and the Coastal Express had daily arrivals to Indre Kvarøy.
People from the many other island around came to Kvarøy to buy food and building materials, or to travel with the Hurtigruten, The Coastal Express. On this old postcard you can see one of these ships, the M/S "Prins Olav" visiting Kvarøy in the 1950's.
The island used to have a bakery, a soda fabric, a cafeteria and even accomodations for the passengers. At that time there also were several farms here, and of course a lot of fishermen.
Now most of these activities are far gone, and the population is down to 60 persons. However, they still have a school, a kindergarden and a grocery shop.
The Harbour is the heart of any island community, and without a safe harbour they can not survive.
Indre Kvarøy, as well as many other of these small communitys on the coast of Norway, was all on their way to a certain death during the 1960's, as a lot of people took the decision to move to the mainland, and to the towns in the region.
Boats and ships was no longer the most important way for transporting goods, and these former important centers was becoming outskirts.
The government even paid out people who wanted to move from the islands, and the population was decreasing fast.
In the 1970's about 50 people was left in Indre Kvarøy, and only thanks to the stayers and fighters who finally won the battle for a safe harbour, then the trend started to change. People started to move back. More families had more children, and there was an impressing development.
The fishermen could go to sheltered harbour, the people could have their own small boats for transportation and daily fishing, - and then the salmon farm came to the island....
The salmon farm has given work and wages to many people, and has contributed a lot to the development of this community.
During the last years, Indre Kvarøy has become a very popular place for vacation, and especially for those who loves fishing.
Fully equipped, high standard vacation houses has been built, and are waiting for you to visit. Solid boats for fishing in open water are available, and great catches are almost guaranteed.
You can also hire bigger boats with local guides and experts in how and where to cath fish.
Many houses are now only used as summer vacation houses, and the last years several cabins has been build by people from the nearest cities who enjoy coming here for weekends in the summertime.
We found this video on YouTube, made by Jan Plug from Hoofddorp in Netherland.
He has obviously experienced exactly what we try to tell you in words, and he tells us he is going back to Indre Kvarøy and Kvarøy Sjøhus the summer of 2011 too.
Please watch this video from Kvarøy Sjøhus:
When arriving on other times of the day than these, you will have to get someone to pick you up with one of the small fishing boats available.
The trip from the mainland to Indre Kvarøy takes about 20 minutes with one of these, while it takes 4-5 minutes with the public transport boat.