29 December 2009

Aland 2009 Wreck Diving

The Åland Post issued this stamp on wreck diving on 8 May 2009. I could not garner much info about the stamp design except that it is an artist's impression, and the artist's name is on the stamp: Anette Gustafsson. There are 2 divers here, one finning over the wreck, the other wielding a bright torch, starting to descend to the wreck. Perhaps this is an impression of a salvage work in progress, since the wreck seems to be in the shallows and looks relatively new, with most of the ropes intact.

Israel 2009 Maritime Archeology

The Israeli Post released this set of stamps with tags on 26 November 2009. The first features retrieval of pottery, urns and amphorae, the second features statuettes and figurines, the third weapons and armour, and the last, anchors.

24 December 2009

Indonesia 2009 World Ocean Conference

The Indonesian Post released on 11 May 2009 this block of 4 to commemorate World Ocean Conferece and the Coral Triangle Summit. The lower right stamp of the block features a scuba diver with a camera approaching a coral mount covered with soft corals and staghorn corals. This issue also comes with a souvenir sheet, displaying a hawksbill turtle resting on a coral mount.

PNG 2009 Coral Triangle

Papua New Guinea released a sheetlet containing 4 triangular stamps on 22 May 2009, to commemorate a meeting on the Coral Triangle that includes peninsular nations and other archipelagoes: Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Philippines, East Timor, Indonesia and Malaysia. The issue also comprises a souvenir sheet and 4 other triangular stamps. This sheetlet features a variety of pelagic and benthic fauna, and in the left-most stamp just under the dolphin is the scuba diver!

19 December 2009

French Polynesia 2009 Scuba diving

Issued on 11 September 2009, the miniature sheet shows 2 scuba divers: One, near the bottom of the sheet, handling a camera in an underwater housing; the other seemingly caressing an overhead napoleon wrasse. I think the image of the diver caressing the wrasse was photoshopped, since I can't imagine any diver putting a hand near the mouth of such a big fish. There are 3 stamps in the sheet, one repeating the scene on the miniature sheet, the second shows baby turtles and the third a whale.

17 December 2009

Niue 2009 Snorkelling in the Limu Pools

Niue released a new set of 11 definitive stamps on 14 September, amongst them, the $2.00 stamp features snorkellers reveling in the Limu Pools of the island. The set of stamps were also issued as a set of 2 souvenir sheets, one with 6 stamps, the other with 5, the snorkelling stamp is found in the sheet with 5 stamps.

Limu Pools, Nieu. View Larger Map

15 December 2009

Mystery Island at Vanuatu

This miniature sheet was issued 28 March to introduce Mystery Island to would-be visitors. Known correctly as Inyeug, this tiny island measures only a few hundred metres wide and about 1km long and is the airstrip for Aneityum, Vanuatu’s southernmost island. Air Vanuatu services the island from Port Vila and Tanna and this service plus the many cruise ships that visit during the season, have seen Mystery Island’s location become less of a mystery. During World War II, this small, uninhabited island was used as a landing strip for the allied forces. US troops built the runway for their air force in the 1940s as World War II raged throughout the South Pacific. The “mystery” is said to have derived from the fact that the air strip is impossible to see from the sea and therefore it took some time for the Japanese to determine where all the planes were coming from.
Today Mystery Island’s guardians welcome tourists as friends and these locals from nearby Aneityum enjoy the attention and the income from travellers who arrive by plane and ship. They provide string band music and lots of stalls selling souvenirs, handicrafts and food as well as the more unusual things like story telling and hair braiding. Visitors that want more than markets, can snorkel in turquoise waters, photograph the unusual flora and fauna or just stroll amongst the palm trees while enjoying the surf breaking on the surrounding reef.

Mystery Island, Vanuatu. View Larger Map

14 December 2009

Romantic Vanuatu

Issued 28 January, this heart-shape self-adhesive stamp is part of a 5-stamp set featuring "Romantic Vanuatu". This stamp shows a couple relaxing on the white sands after a snorkelling session (the 2 pair of fins at their side).

13 December 2009

2009 1st scuba stamp

The year's first stamp to feature a scuba diver is this issue, released 1st January, from the French Southern & Antarctic Territories (Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises - TAAF) on the MACARBI (Monitoring environnemental en Antarctique basé sur l'étude des structures CARbonatées de Bivalves) Project - Antarctic environmental monitoring based on study of bivalve carbonate structures. The stamp shows a silhouetted diver on the way down to harvest bivalves for the project experiments.