OPT-NC continues its philatelic publications covering the lighthouses of New Caledonia. After a stamp dedicated to the Tabou lighthouse last year, OPT-NC will publish on July 23 an illustrated plate of ten stamps without face value for international clients representing the Cap N'Dua lighthouse. The work of the graphic designer and illustrator Jean-Jacques Mahuteau.
Located on the extreme south of Grande Terre, in New Caledonia the Cap N'Dua lighthouse is acknowledged as a privileged viewpoint to observe the lagoon. In season, you can admire humpback whales as they come to breed. Apart from its unique location overlooking the Havannah Canal, the lighthouse’s site houses the ruins of a building in which was located the optical telegraph that once linked the Isle of Pines to Prony. The guards were housed in the so-called magic cove.
A historic lighthouse
The installation of the lighthouse is said to have been completed in 1902. It is nearly 190 meters above sea level. At the beginning of its life, every evening, the guardian hoisted to the top a lamp powered by rapeseed oil and later mineral oil. The weekly newspaper of the time, "Le Bulletin du Commerce" did not hesitate however to regularly comment on life at the lighthouse, and sometimes to highlight its malfunctions. Hence, in an issue of 1928, we can read "during the absence of a guardian, undergoing medical treatment at the capital, Noumea, it was impossible to telephone to Cap N'Dua as the remaining guardian did not know how to use the telephone. Then again in 1929: "Too often a notice is published in the newspapers informing navigators that one of the lights of Cape N'Dua is unavailable. Why is this? Well, it’s because the guardian in charge of lighting the beacons (there are two) is old and incapable, and he cannot walk as far as the second beacon as it is too far from the first for him." Reports whose anecdotal character seen from the viewpoint of the present day bring on a smile.
The lighthouse is still in operation today and continues its mission of guiding ships in the entrance to the Havannah Pass. The switching on and off of the beacons is today automated and runs on solar energy.