Friday, 12 November 2010

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM SOUTH AFRICA

 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. 

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