Sunday, 28 November 2010


That is my friend Bernadette’s contribution to my lighthouse collection: one of the historical New Jersey light stations. The Barnegat Lighthouse, colloquially known as "Old Barney", is located on the northern tip of Long Beach Island, in Barnegat Light, New Jersey. Vessels bound to and from New York along the New Jersey coastline depended on Barnegat Lighthouse to avoid the shoals extending from the shoreline. The swift currents, shifting sandbars, and the offshore shoals challenged the skills of even the most experienced sailor. Lt. George G. Meade, an Army engineer began its construction in late 1856 and it was commissioned on January 1, 1859. The 172 ft (52.5 m) lighthouse is still the third tallest brick tower in the U.S: the lower half of the tower and the lantern roof are painted white, the upper half of the tower is bright red. The light was deactivated in January 1944, and given to the State of New Jersey and only in 2008, the Friends of Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, a local civic organization, raised funds to reactivate the lighthouse after many repairs. The “Old Barney” was relit on New Year's Day 2009, exactly 150 years to the day that it was originally lit in 1859. The top of the lighthouse is accessible via its 217 steps and continues to attract thousands of visitors all year.
 On the postcard, the 98–cent definitive stamp issued on June 28, 2009, in the Scenic American Landscapes series, featuring a view of the Snake River at dawn in the Grand Teton National Park.

Saturday, 27 November 2010


 The Biarritz Lighthouse is nonetheless one of the most remarkable of French coastline. It is one of the lighthouses designed by Augustin Fresnel himself: the construction of the tower began in 1830 and not completed until 1834. The 47 m (154 ft) masonry tower rises from the center of a 2-story octagonal keeper's house. It is located at the end of the Avenue de l'Impératrice, on the promontory of Cap Hainsart, on the north side of the resort city of Biarritz,  in south-western France. After climbing a spiral staircase of 248 steps you reach the upper deck and have a breathtaking view of the Atlantic on one side and the Pyrénées mountains on the other.
The year 1960 saw independence sweep across much of Africa. Fourteen countries ceased to be French colonies: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Gabon, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Chad and Togo. French Post marks the fiftieth anniversary of the independence issuing a stamp on July 15, 2010. The 0, 87 € stamp highlights the Franco-African relations (diplomatic, military, economic and cultural) and enhance the role and place of Africans in France. Thank you, Brigitte.

Friday, 26 November 2010


 The Kiel-Holtenau Lighthouse is located at the end of the Thiessenkai, the quay on the north side of the Kiel Canal (Nord-Ostsee-Kanal), the busiest artificial waterway in the world, in Holtenau, about 12 km (7.5 mi) north of Kiel. The 20 m (66 ft) round cylindrical brick tower with lantern and gallery rising from the front of a 2-story brick Imperial-style building was built in 1895. The building includes a memorial hall, the Drei-Kaiser-Gedächtnishalle, in remembrance of Kaisers Wilhelm I, who inaugurated construction of the canal in 1887; Friedrich III, who turned the first shovel of dirt here in 1888, and Wilhelm II, who laid the cornerstone of the lighthouse in 1895. It also houses a registrar's office where weddings are performed.
On November 13, 2008 German Post issued a 100 cent stamp celebrating the 150th birthday of the Swedish author Selma Lagerlof. She was the first female writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1909 and most widely known for her children's book Nils Holgerssons underbara resa genom Sverige (The Wonderful Adventures of Nils). The book, first published in 1907, records the adventures of a mischievous 14-year-old, Nils Holgersson, who is changed into a tiny being, transported across the Swedish countryside on the back of a goose, and learns about nature, geography, and folklore. Thank you, Andreas.

Friday, 12 November 2010


 Cape Agulhas Lighthouse is South Africa's third oldest light station and second oldest surviving lighthouse (after Green Point). First lit on March 1st, 1849, its design is modeled on the original Egyptian Pharos of Alexandria. It is a 27 m (89 ft) sandstone tower painted white with two red horizontal bands, rising through the center of a 1-story keeper's house.

The lighthouse marks the geographic southernmost point of Africa and the junction of the Atlantic Ocean (cold Benguela Current) and Indian Ocean (warm Agullhas Current). When seafaring Portuguese vessels rounded this cape tip in the 15th century their compass needles would swing unable to determine True North from Magnetic North. As a result, in 1488 the Portuguese navigator, Bartolomeu Dias, name this ocean site “Cabo das Agulhas” (Cape of Needles).
This historic lighthouse was deactivated in 1968 when deterioration of the sandstone walls made the tower appear unsafe. Twenty years of public effort led by the Bredasdorp Shipwreck Museum secured a complete restoration and reactivation in 1988. Today the keeper's house includes the only lighthouse museum in South Africa and a restaurant.
  Since the discovery of the first nearly-complete dinosaur skeleton in 1858, dinosaurs have captured the imagination of scientists, writers, film-makers and the general public world wide. South Africa Post Office issued on November 2nd, 2009 a set of ten self-adhesive dinosaur stamps called “Dinosaurs stamps: Where pre-history meets modern technology”.  These are the first stamps with a 3D effect to be issued by South Africa and the first time that a pair of viewing glasses will be supplied with each stamp sheet and commemorative cover. The method used to create this effect, is known as an anaglyph. The stamp depicts a skeleton of Jobaria, a primitive, long-necked, long-tailed dinosaur from the early Cretaceous Period. Its remains were discovered in the Sahara desert in 1997. Named after Jobar, a creature of local legends, this dinosaur is estimated to have been about 18 meters long. 


 Maspalomas Lighthouse is located in the Punta de Maspalomas, at the southern tip of the Isla de Gran Canaria, Spain and is one of the island's best known tourist attractions. It is the third highest lighthouse in Spain: a 56 m (184 ft) round stone tower attached to one corner of a 2-story keeper's house. The decision to build a lighthouse on the southern coast of the island was taken in 1861. Construction lasted 28 years and the lighthouse lamp was lit on February 1st, 1890. The lighthouse, at the end of the beach of Maspalomas, is surrounded by an area of sand dunes interspersed with wetlands in a protected nature reserve.
 Correos de España issued in 2010 in four different dates a beautiful series presenting different protected nature reserves in Spain with a high ecological and scenic value. On September 15th, 2010 a 0, 45 € stamp of this series was released and shows the National Park of Ordesa and Monteperdido in the Pyrenees of Huesca province. The park was awarded by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve and constitutes a geographic unit dominated a series of mountainous crests and glacial valleys. The stamp presents the Pyrenean Chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica), an endemic Goat antelope that lives in the Pyrenees.

The Spanish television broadcaster “Televisión Española (TVE)” began broadcasting in January 1982 the documentary series “Al filo de lo Imposible” (On the Edge of the Impossible) presenting adventurous expeditions. This series of over two hundred documentary and risk adventure sports, with beautiful images filmed in some of the most remote places on the planet, is one of the "classics" of TVE over 25 years on the air. On October 24th, 2005 Spain issued a six-stamp miniature sheet depicting some of the scenes shown on the programmes: real scenes experienced by the film makers such as the crossing of the magnetic North Pole in Canada.

Monday, 8 November 2010


This is presently the world's best known leaning lighthouse: the Kiipsaare Lighthouse located on the Harilaid peninsula, on the northwestern coast of Saaremaa Island, Estonia. The 25 m (82 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted with black and white horizontal bands was built in 1933. Originally it was placed 25 meters from the coastline but endangered by beach erosion, the lighthouse stands now at the water's edge. The lighthouse is located at the Vilsandi National Park, a nature reserve on the Estonian island and it is possible to park the car at the entrance of the park and walk the remaining 5 km to the tower. Visit it soon, because it seems very likely the tower will collapse within a few years at most. 
In Estonian, a lighthouse is a tuletorn (fire tower). My postcard arrived with two beautiful lighthouse stamps: Vaindloo Tuletorn and Juminda Tuletorn.  The 2.50 stamp issued on September 25th, 1996 presents the Vaindloo Lighthouse, built in 1871 and located at the northernmost point of Vaindloo Island, in the Gulf of Finland. The other stamp brings the Juminda Lighthouse located at the tip of Juminda peninsula on Estonia’s northern shore. It was issued on March 8th, 2007 with a double face value 6.00 krooni / 0.38 €.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010


This postcard sent by Carolyn brings lighthouses of the southwestern peninsula of England in the county of Cornwall. The northern coast of the peninsula faces the Atlantic Ocean while the south coast faces the English Channel. This region includes many of the most famous English lighthouses. Land's End is the extreme south-westerly point of the British mainland, and the extreme westerly point of the mainland of England.
 Longships Lighthouse is the round granite tower with a helipad on the top, swept by waves. It is located on Carn Bras, the largest of the Longships Rocks, about 1.5 km (1 mi) west of Land's End.
The next tower in the counterclockwise is Pendeen Lighthouse, a white concrete-clad rubblestone tower located on the promontory called Pendeen Watch, about 2 km (1.2 mi) north of Pendeen.
Trevose Head Lighthouse is the 26.5 m (87 ft) white brick tower attached to two 1-story keeper's houses located about 8 km (5 mi) northwest of Padstow. Trevose Head is a peninsula at the northwestern tip of Cornwall.
Godrevy Island is situated at the northeastern entrance to St. Ives's Bay where rugged cliffs rise from the sea. The white octagonal tower in the center of the island inspired the author Virginia Wolff to write her famous novel The Lighthouse (1927).
The Royal Mail issued on September 16th, 2010 a wonderful series called "Medical Breakthroughs” celebrating six important medical discoveries made by British doctors and scientists. Two of these discoveries are part of my job as an anesthesiologist in operating rooms: total hip replacement surgery and artificial lens implant surgery treating cases of cataracts. The stamp shows a beautiful image of an implanted lens in the eye replacing the crystalline lens.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


 Curaçao is an island off the coast of Venezuela in the southern Caribbean Sea. It is the central and largest of the so-called ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao). The island is about 65 km (40 mi) long but only 5-13 km (3-8 mi) in width; it has a permanent population of about 140,000. Klein Curaçao is a 1.7 km2 uninhabited island south-east of Curaçao and the light station buildings are the only structures on the barren island. Built in 1850, the 20 m (66 ft) round masonry tower is connected to two ruined 2-story keepers’ houses. Previously abandoned and still endangered, this historic lighthouse was nonetheless reactivated with a solar-powered LED beacon in the restoration of Curaçao's aids to navigation.
The postcard brings a dark blue stamp depicting Curaçao old buildings and the effigy of Queen Juliana issued in 1958. The other stamp is a 2010 flower issue with red azaleas. Thank you, Jean Pierre!