suomeksi
in english
auf deutch

femEmare Oy

Myllyniementie 26
85180 Rahja
Kaisa-Leena Korhonen
p. 040 722 6401
kaisa-leena.korhonen@fememare.fi

The lighthouse island of Ulkokalla

History of the Kalla islands

The islet of Ulkokalla is located in the Gulf of Bothnia, on the outer sea about 22 km offshore from KalajokiThe islet of Ulkokalla is located in the Gulf of Bothnia, on the outer sea about 22 km offshore from Kalajoki. It rises a mere four metres above the sea level. About 3 km away lies Maakalla islet, which is an old fishermen community.

The Kalla islets have an autonomy, which is inherited from the 17th century.

On that time the fishermen came to the islets every summer for two months for fishing Baltic herring, and on the 19th century there were more than 200 inhabitants on Maakalla and about 100 inhabitants on Ulkokalla.

The community needed rules for both fishing and living on the islands. On that time Finland was a part of Sweden, and in 1661 the king of Sweden gave an order, where the regulations were specified on how these kinds of fishing communities should be ruled. Those orders are still valid today, and the fishermen have a dominion of Kalla islets. Every summer in July all inhabitants of the islands get together in order make decisions on matters concerning the Kalla islets.

In 1857 the Pilot and Lighthouse Service decided to have a lighthouse built on the island. The location chosen was the higher of two islands, Maakalla. However, the insurance companies and shipmasters wanted the lighthouse to stand further out on the islet of Ulkokalla. A 13-metre brick tower was completed in the summer of 1871. Its spiral staircase has 42 steps. Light was first lit in September 28th 1872.

Three lighthouse keepers worked on the rugged island together with a lighthouse chief. Because of the ice conditions the lighthouse keepers and their families had to spend three months in a row on the island. They had to store rainwater for drinking water. A trip by one of the lighthouse chiefs attracted a great deal of publicity in the 1920s. He went to get supplies from the mainland and was trapped on an ice floe. He drifted for tree days on it before he was rescued.

The residence of the lighthouse keepers burned down in 1944. The present large house dates from 1948 and has been repaired in 2003 - 2006.

The nature of Ulkokalla

The islet is formed of stony soil, boulders and cliffs, and the landfall is very difficult because of the submerged rocks around the islet. The islet is formed of stony soil, boulders and cliffs, and the landfall is very difficult because of the submerged rocks around the islet. Although the vegetation of Ulkokalla is very scanty, there are still about 100 species  found on the island. There are no trees on the islet, excluding a couple of small shrubby rowan tree. On summer a stonecrop is blooming as a yellow carpet on the rocks, and the willow bushes shield the many birds and their nests.

There are many birds living on the Ulkokalla. The islet is the resting-place for migratory birds, for example Blue throat and Cold crest, and many species are nesting on the islet too. For example Arctic tern and several gull species, Black guillemot, Razorbill and Arctic skua are nesting species.

The Bothnian Bay is surrounding the islet and the fishermen catch Baltic herring, lavaret (white fish) and salmon. Baltic herring is the reason, why the fishermen came to the Kalla islands in the first place.

Today they are fishing mostly lavaret and salmon by nets and fyke nets. The mammals of the sea, a grayseal and a ringed seal, lives in the Gulf of Bothnian and if a visitor is lucky, the seals may show themselves, and rise to a cliff.