Wednesday, April 6, 2011

AUSTRALIA – Postcard from Sidney, Australia to Braga, Portugal.

Maximum card with stamp of 45c from the 1998’s issue ‘Planet Ocean’ posted on March, 14 2011.
(Special thanks to my best friend Juris Tarvids)

Miniature sheet
The ocean comprises nearly three quarters of the Earth’s surface, provides an important source of food, largely controls global weather and climate and is the ultimate source of all water resources.

Yet there has been more exploration of outer space than there has of the ocean depths. The vast majority of the ocean, ninety-eight per cent, in fact, remains unexplored and unknown, its natural resources and processes only now being understood. Planet Ocean, the 1998 Stamp Collecting Month issue, explores the ocean depths and celebrates the United Nations International Year of the Ocean. The waters surrounding Australia are part of three large, interconnected oceans of the Southern Hemisphere: the Pacific, the Indian and the Southern Oceans. They contain a great range of geographic features and around 12,000 islands.
Fields of seamounts south of Tasmania contain peaks rising to three times the height of our highest terrestrial peaks.  The stamps feature six of the marine creatures found in Australian waters.

Weedy Seadragon (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus)
Seadragons are a spectacular small fish found only in Australian waters. They grow to about 46 centimeters in length and differ from seahorses in that they have an elongated tail. Their bony exterior helps ward off attack by predators, while the fins provide mobility and camouflage.
The Common or Weedy Seadragon is found only in southern Australian waters. It has an astonishing color pattern, with an orange-red background, iridescent blue stripes and numerous white spots and yellow markings.
The female deposits 100 to 250 eggs on the underside of her mate’s tail. The male then incubates the eggs in cup-like supports, protecting them with varying degrees of cover.

Southern Right Whale (Eubalaena australis)
The Southern Right Whale has been protected since 1935 and was listed as endangered in 1992. It was regarded by early whalers as the ‘right’ whale to hunt because it comes close to shore, is a slow swimmer, and gives a high blubber and oil yield.

The whales migrate from their Antarctic feeding grounds to the southern coasts of Australia in winter, where they can be seen in shallow waters just beyond the surf line. The Southern Right has baleen
plates rather than teeth. A gentle giant growing to an average of fifteen meters in length, its sounds may be the loudest produced by an animal, capable of carrying up to hundreds of kilometers.

Manta Ray (Manta birostris)
The largest of the rays and one of the largest living fishes, Manta Rays can measure six to seven meters wide – more usually they grow to about four meters across.
Like sharks, rays have a skeleton composed of cartilage rather than bone.
They have broad, flat, wing like pectoral fins along the sides of the head, and eyes and spiracles  breathing holes) on top of the head and mouth and gill slits underneath. Manta Rays are graceful swimmers and are capable of spectacular leaps above the surface.

White Pointer Shark (Carcharodon carcharias)
The White Pointer, or Great White Shark, is rare and there are signs that the species is declining in numbers. In Australia it is found from southern Queensland around the south of the continent to southern Western Australia.
A massive creature, it reaches lengths of more than six meters and has a fearsome reputation as a predator. Two of its main food sources in southern Australian waters are fur seals and sea lions. It also feeds on dolphins and whales.

Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)
Dolphins, porpoises and whales are all warm-blooded, breathe air and suckle their young. The Bottlenose Dolphin lives for more than 35 years, grows to about four meters long and has a streamlined body with paired pectoral fins, and a single dorsal fin. It can dive relatively deep and can remain underwater for up to fifteen minutes.

Fiery Squid (Pyroteuthis margaritifera)
The Fiery Squid is a small animal, less than 10 centimeters in total length, that lives in the deep waters of the open ocean. By day it retreats to between 300 and 500 metres below the sea surface to escape into the darkness and avoid predators. At night, when it is safer, it migrates towards the upper 200 meters. As an added protection, its underside glows with small light organs which match the light from the sky above, so that it is invisible to predators from below.

Technical Details
Date of Issue: 1 October 1998
Values: six stamps of 45c
Subject: Planet Ocean
Designer: Wayne Rankin
Printer: SNP  Cambec
Process: Offset lithography
Seadragon and Dolphin stamp: 26 mm x 37.5 mm
Perforations: 14.6 x 13.86
Sheet layout: Two panes of 25
Squid stamp: 25 mm x 30 mm
Perforations: 14.4 x 14
Ray stamp: 30 mm x 25 mm
Perforations: 14 x 14.4
Shark stamp: 30 mm x 50 mm
Perforations: 14 x 14.4
Whale stamp: 50 mm x 30 mm
Perforations: 14.4 x 14
Shark, whale, squid and
ray sheet layout: 50 stamps
Miniature sheet: 167 mm x 74 mm
Perforations: 14.4 x 14
Part 1: Lick & Stick
Part 2: Miniature sheet with six stamps
Part 3: Peel & Stick with Perforation Die-cut simulated

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