Meløy’s nature distinguishes itself by its large variety. At short range between the outermost islands and the mountains above the tree line, you can find lots of natural places that provide room for beautiful natural experiences.
Hundreds of islands
On the open sea, there are hundreds of islands, which are exposed to the wind and quite flat. Their landscape is rather barren, with brows of rocks and flattish smoothed stone, moors, beaches and overgrown cultural landscape, deriving from a time when the inhabitants used to downright cling to their spot there on the open sea. As in the other parts of the municipality, the sea and the acres were what the inhabitants needed to protect. Today, it is the realm of seagulls, eider ducks and sea eagles, as well as once in a while that of seals and otters. Several of the islands are under protection because of their various bird- and plant species.
Steep fjord landscape
Travelling by sea towards the mainland, you’d pass the larger islands that are located closer to the mainland. All of them are of steeply ascending shape, with peeks of a height up to 600 m. Here, unlike on the outermost skerry belt, you can find birch woods along the mountainside. Teksmona island has a large stand of old and undisturbed spruce woods, which has been protected for a little while by now. In lots of places, you’d find sheltered bays, beautiful sandy beaches and rich fishing grounds. The mainland alongside the fjords is steep and mountainous, with peeks of a height up to 1.500 m. This alpine mountain region has been shaped by the continental ice sheet of the last ice age. At the fjord slopes, there are steep and lush forest sides, mainly consistent of birch trees, and, in a few places, elm trees. Meløy is the northernmost municipality that has the most noteworthy distribution of this tree species which usually prefers warmth.
Lots of areas in Meløy are above the tree line at 500 m. Glomfjell (the common name for the mountain area east of Glomfjord) is special in many ways. Large sections consist of marble, which makes them El Dorado for botanists, while at the same time being a unique karst landscape with lots of grottos and interesting mountain formations. Here, you can again get close to the Svartisen glacier and the glacial landscape. In addition, the chilly summers at the coast of Nordland contribute to many mountain plants thriving in the lower, plainer areas, like for example “fjellfiol” (twoflower violet), “reinrose” (mountain avens) and “rypebær” (alpine bearberry).
The bedrock in Meløy consists of several layers that have been folded on top of each other. During the Caledonian orogeny 4-500 millions of years ago, the layers were shifted. On the islands, the bedrock consists of mainly granite and granodiorite. Grønøy, parts of Meløy and Mesøy are dominated by schist and feldspar, with large areas consisting of granite and granodiorite. Nearby Ørnes, you’d find some areas with diorite, schistose calc silicate rocks and feldspar. In the mountainous regions north of the inland lake Storglomvatnet, there are large coherent areas with schistose calc silicate marble and dolomitic marble.
Due to Meløy’s position at the coast of Nordland, the municipality is strongly affected by western winds coming from the seaside. Concerning the temperature, this fact causes mild winters and chilly summers, with an annual average of 5ºC. At a short range, the municipality experiences high variations concerning the precipitation amount. In the innermost areas of the fjords, the moist air masses coming from the west come upon enormous mountain massifs and the Svartisen glacier, a combination which leads to high precipitation. While the exterior coastal area shows an averaged annual rainfall of 1200 mm, the interior fjord areas get up to more than 2000 mm. The farther east one goes, the precipitation amount increases till about 3000 mm in the mountain areas east of Glomfjord, and can reach up to 5000 mm on the Svartis plateau.