This is my first cover from New Caledonia sent by my friend Jean Pierre. One of the largest of the South Pacific countries, New Caledonia is an island chain located roughly 1600 km (1000 mi) east northeast of Australia. Discovered by the Capt. James Cook in 1774, it has been a French territory since 1853. The country consists of one large island, called Grand Terre, and many smaller islands. The population was estimated in January 2009 to be 249,000 and the capital and largest city of the territory is Nouméa.
In March 2010, New Caledonia Post issued three stamps of the series “Market fishes” depicting species found on the market stalls in Noumea and appreciated by gourmets and anglers. On the cover we can find the wahoo (Acanthocybium solandri), species with an elongated body marked by dark blue vertical stripes. The flesh of the wahoo is white, delicate, and highly regarded by many gourmets. This has created some demand for the wahoo as a premium priced commercial food fish.
The yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) is a popular sport fish and also is widely used in raw fish dishes, especially sashimi. The stock of yellowfin tuna starts to be fully exploited in the western equatorial Pacific and in 2010 Greenpeace International added the yellowfin tuna to its seafood endangered list.New Caledonia boasts the world's second tallest cast iron lighthouse, the active Amédée lighthouse, located on Amédée Island, 24 km away from Nouméa. This magnificent lighthouse, the pride of New Caledonia, was prefabricated in France in 1862, disassembled into 1,265 pieces weighing a total of 388,000 kilos and shipped halfway around the world. The 55 m (180 ft) round 16-sided cast iron white tower was first lit on 15 November 1865. Today it is New Caledonia's best known tourist attraction and the tower is opened to guided tours.