Island Series Pt3 Candlemas Islands
South Sandwich Islands – Candlemas Islands
The South Sandwich Islands are a string of eleven volcanic islands and rocks located approximately 500 km to the south east of South Georgia. The island chain stretches for over 400 km in a north to south direction. From north to south they are Zavodovski, Leskov, Visokoi, Candlemas, Vindication, Saunders, Montagu, Bristol, Bellingshausen, Cook and Thule. The South Sandwich Islands range in size from the largest, Montague, at 110 km2 to the smallest, Leskov, at 0.3 km2. To the east of the islands lies the South Sandwich Trench, which plummets to a depth of more than 8000 m and is the deepest point in the Southern Ocean and South Atlantic.
The South Sandwich Islands were first discovered by Captain James Cook in 1775. Thick fog and snow storms made exploration difficult but out of the gloom Cook noted eight rocky masses he thought could be islands or headlands on a distant continent. The conditions made navigation extremely dangerous and so Cook did not explore in detail or land on the islands. The region was next visited in 1819 by the Russian explorer Fabian von Bellingshausen who was able to explore more thoroughly and confirm the rocky masses seen by Cook were indeed islands and there were three further to the north making 11 in total.
In winter, the islands are enveloped by sea ice and remain difficult to access in summer due to the mountainous seas which surround them. As such they are rarely visited by humans and remain in pristine isolation. In 2022, the whole island chain was declared a Specially Protected Area by the Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands.
The island chain can be divided up into four island groups, each of which will be celebrated in this series of stamps. Each island will be represented with a pair of stamps; one features an example of the wildlife that occurs there and the other a striking landscape feature of the island.
This third set in the series features the islands of Candlemas and Vindication
£1.05 – Candlemas Island
Discovered by Captain Cook on 2nd February 1775, the Islands were named to commemorate the day of discovery. The two main peaks are Mt Andromeda at 550 m.a.s.l and Mt Perseus at 455 m.a.s.l. Like most of the other islands in the chain, its topography is dominated by volcanic activity with an active stratovolcano, Lucifer Hill to the northwest of the island. The island's southeast point is called Shrove Point and was named by personnel on the RRS Discovery II because they charted it on Shrove Tuesday, 4th March 1930.
As the name suggests, the giant petrel is the largest of the petrel species and are part of the Procellariformes, or tube-nose group of birds named because their bills feature prominent nasal passages called naricorns. Southern Giant Petrels are widespread across the southern ocean, breeding on many of the sub-Antarctic islands as well as a few locations on the Antarctic continent. They feed on fish, krill squid and offal and are often attracted to fishing boats or other sites of human activity. Frequently seen around penguin colonies they are known to be aggressive predators and will kill chicks or injured birds.
£1.25 – Vindication Island
Separated by the Nelson Channel, Vindication is the smaller of the two islands in the Candlemass group and was discovered and charted by Cook in 1775. It was re-surveyed by the Discovery Investigations and named because the survey vindicated Cook's original report of two islands in the group. The highest point is Quadrant Peak at 430 m.a.s.l. Unusually, there appears to be no sign of volcanic activity on Vindication with the last eruption suspected to be over 10,000 years ago.
Leopard seals with their long muscular bodies and massive jaws are the second largest species of seal in the Antarctic. They are primarily solitary creatures, and their favoured habitat is amongst the sea ice where they have a varied diet from krill to more substantial prey including penguins and smaller seal species. Known to be particularly vocal during the summer months and produce loud underwater calls that are thought to be part of a long-range acoustic display for maintaining territories and attracting a mate.
Design Bee Design
Photography £1.05 Southern Giant Petrel Andy Black
£1.05 Candlemas Island Tom Hart/Penguin Watch
£1.25 Leopard Seal Andy Black
£1.25 Vindication Island Andy Black
Process Stochastic lithography
Perforation 13 ¼ x 13 ½ per 2cms
Stamp size 42 x 28mm
Sheet layout 10
Release date 9 October, 2023
Production Coordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd