A visit to Emårsøy gives you a vivid glimpse of how life was for people on these islands in the beginning of the 19th century. Store Emårsøy had a couple of smallholdings from about 1780 to 1905. As the 20th century passed, only one smallholding remained here, with just a couple of cows and some sheep. Fishing was the main occupation, but some sealing, trapping of otters and gathering of eiderdown and eggs provided valuable additional income. The last family left in 1957, pulling down the boathouse and barn, while the house gradually fell into disrepair. Today the house is restored and the barn and boathouse have been rebuilt.
Meet two local history enthusiasts
Our hosts for the day, Turid Næss and Gisle Ebbesen, have a farm on Vega, and since 2008 they have been making a great effort to restore the former cotter’s smallholding on Store Emårsøy. Life on Emårsøy is well documented with photographs of the last family to live here. Several of these photographs are on view in Skogsholmen guesthouse.