Tuesday, 28 December 2010

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM NETHERLANDS

The Netherlands is a small country with a long maritime tradition and home to a large number of historic lighthouses. Hellevoetsluis is a small fortified city on Voorne-Putten Island in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. The history of Hellevoetsluis is connected to the sea for a long time ago. Thanks to its strategic location the city grew from the beginning of the 17th century to be the homeport for the Dutch naval fleet.
Hellevoetsluis Lighthouse is located on the west side of the entrance to the commercial harbor, on the north side of the Haringvliet. The 18 m (59 ft) round cylindrical white tower was first lit on September 1st, 1822 and was partially rebuilt in 1901. More recently, it was restored in 1965 and the building was about to collapse in mid-2004 when it began a large restoration. The renovated lighthouse was reopened in 2005 and tourists can visit it every last Sunday of the month from May through August.
Thank you, Bianca.

Monday, 27 December 2010

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM SOUTH AFRICA

The lighthouse in the Donkin Reserve was built in 1861 on a hill behind the harbor of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The original lighthouse had a height of 17 m (55 ft) but as the city grew, its lights decreased the effectiveness of the lighthouse, and so in 1932 the tower was substantially rebuilt. The octagonal tower raised to 26 m (86 feet tall) and four buttresses were added at that time, giving the tower an Art Deco design. The lighthouse was painted white with a red lantern dome and was attached to a 1-story keeper's house. Near the lighthouse is a sandstone pyramid built by the city’s founder, Sir Rufane Donkin, as a memorial to his wife, Elizabeth, after whom the city was named.
The light was decommissioned in 1973 and the keeper's house now houses the city's tourist information center. The tower, a popular tourist destination, has seven levels and is open for climbing. It is also the best place for an overall stunning view of the city and excellent photos.
South Africa Post Office issued on July 10th, 2009 a set of four stamps depicting the beauty of the country’s gemstones. The stamp shows the polished Rodochrosite gemstone, also known as the “Inca rose”. It ranges in color from pink to pale red to dark and brownish red due to the presence of manganese. It occurs as irregular sheets due to sedimentary deposits of a chemical origin in the manganese mines of N’Chwaning and Hotazel. The stones are sometimes faceted, but due to their softness, they are generally collected as crystal clusters. Thank you very much, Bruce.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

MAXIMUM CARDS FROM ISRAEL

Israel Post issued on November 26th, 2009 a series of stamps presenting three of the lighthouses built along Israel’s southern Mediterranean coastline. My friend Bruce sent me the maximum cards which is a splendid contribution to my collection.
 Jaffa (Arab. Yaffa, Heb. Yafo) is the oldest and perhaps most famous of the ports along the Israel’s coast. The Palestinian Arab city of Jaffa is military occupied by Israel since 1948, and is part of the unified city Tel Aviv-Yafo since 1950.
Jaffa Lighthouse was built by French engineers in 1865 on a hilltop located at the waterfront. It was built as part of operations carried out by the Ottoman authorities to improve the port facilities, mainly due to the increase in export of citrus fruit. The current round cylindrical concrete tower, painted with red and white horizontal bands, was built by the British in 1936. Israel relocated port operations to a modern port about 6 km (3.5 mi) north of Jaffa and the old harbor now serves only small craft. The historic lighthouse tower is being maintained as a daybeacon. The 4.60 NIS stamp depicts the tower and a small boat transporting passengers and cargo since the rocks along the Jaffa shore did not allow ships to enter the port.
 Tel Aviv Lighthouse, also known as Tel Kudadi Light, is an inactive lighthouse in Tel Aviv, Israel. It is located near the beach on the north side of the Yarkon River Estuary, on the foot of the Tel Aviv South Breakwater. The tower was built by British authorities in 1934-1935 to help ships approaching the shore pass local sandbars safely. The 17 m (56 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower was painted in a black and white checkerboard pattern. In 1965, when Tel Aviv port was officially closed due to the opening of the Ashdod Port in the south, the light was shut down.
Ashdod is a city located 32 kilometers (20 mi) south of Tel Aviv and its port is Israel's largest port. The modern port started to be designed in 1957 and its construction took eight years. The port began operations on November 21, 1965 and the Ashdod Lighthouse was lit in 1966. The 42 m (138 ft) cylindrical concrete tower carries an array of communications gear as well as a lantern. The upper half of the lighthouse is round and is painted in a red and white checkerboard pattern; the lower half is triangular and is unpainted gray concrete.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM SCOTLAND

The Cloch Lighthouse is located on Cloch Point, Inverclyde, 2½ miles (4 km) west southwest of Gourock, on the eastern shore of the Firth of Clyde, in Scotland. Designed by Thomas Smith and built in 1797, the 14 m (46 ft) round cylindrical stone tower warned boats away from “The Gantocks “ - a dangerous reef of drying rocks close to shore. The white tower features a single narrow black horizontal band and is attached to 1-1/2 story stone keeper's house.  The light has a range of 14 miles (23 km) and was originally illuminated by an acetylene flame, with the lenses floating on a bath of mercury and rotated by a clockwork mechanism, which had to be wound by the light-keepers every few hours. A foghorn was added in 1897. The name Cloch comes from the Gaelic for stone.   
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. Thank you, Alan.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

LIGHTHOUSE POSTCARD FROM SOUTH AFRICA

Cape Point is a promontory at the southeast corner of the Cape Peninsula, which is a mountainous and scenic landform at the extreme southwestern tip of the African continent in the Republic of South Africa. 'The Point' has not been called the 'Cape of Storms' for nothing, and has been treated with respect by sailors since it was first sighted by Bartholomeu Dias in 1488.
The first lighthouse at Cape Point was built in 1857 at the top of Cape Maclear. The 8 m (27 ft) round cylindrical cast iron tower was prefabricated in England and shone from 1860 until 1919. It is situated 248 meters (816 ft) above the high water mark which made it ineffective by fog and mist with its light often blocked by low clouds. On 18 April 1911, the Portuguese liner Lusitania was wrecked just south of Cape Point prompting the relocation of the lighthouse. The new tower was established lower at the cliff (at 87 meters – 286 ft).

Cape Point Lighthouse is located about 60 km (40 mi) south of Cape Town beyond the end of Cape Point Road and a funicular railway (The Flying Dutchman Funicular) provide access to this upper lighthouse.
On August 3rd, 2009 South African Post Office issued a set of five stamps presenting sea and coastal birds endemic in South Africa. On the postcard we see the Blackbacked seagull (Larus dominicanus), bird found all along the Southern African coast, from Namibia right through to Mozambique. The birds scavenge along coasts individually or in small groups, especially in harbours. They are rarely found inland. Thank you, Bruce.