Spildra is the biggest island in Kvænangen, the northernmost fiord in Troms.The island has been inhabited for around 8.000 years, for the last 2.000 years by Sami people. Up to the 16-1700th century people lived by hunting and fishing and moved around in the fiord according to the seasons. Wild reindeer, seal and whales where important prey beside the very rich fish resources in the fiord. 400 years ago people became sedentary, started farming and selling dried fish to the European market. Since then, fishing combined with farming has been the main way of living both at Spildra as in the rest of Northern Norway. Today, Spildra is one of the very few places where this ancient way of life still is to be found.
The island is situated in the middle of the fiord on 70 degrees north and has around 50 inhabitants. Before World War II people lived scattered all around the island, but today all reside in the village of Dunvik. Here is a school with 7-8 pupils, a fish delivery station, food shop, accomodation, post office and a good pier. Around 7-8 fishing boats lie in the harbour and in the wintertime it is possible to come along to collect the pray.
On the neighbouring island is the old county church, a beautiful wooden structure from 1850. The island is no longer inhabited, but a sermon is held in the third sunday in July. A lot of people arrive and it is altogether a very special occasion.
CLIMATE: Summertime at Spildra can have over 20 degrees C – but nothing is guaranteed! Winter is relatively mild, the sea does not freeze because of the Gulfstream and there is hardly more than a few minus degrees. The ground is covered with snow from December to end of April. The sun shines all night and day from the middle of May to the middle of July.
Within a short distance is the smaller fiord Jøkelfiord, where a large glacier is to be found (41 square km). It is the only glacier in Europe which calves directly into the sea. The glacier also tells us about the ongoing climate change. Here the global warming is a matter of fact to be seen as the very tip of the glacier withdraws from year to year. Ice climbing and hikes to the top of the glacier can be arranged (www.breogvandring.no).