August 18, 2015

1832 BELIZE - Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (UNESCO WHS)

The coastal area of Belize is an outstanding natural system consisting of the largest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere, offshore atolls, several hundred sand cays, mangrove forests, coastal lagoons and estuaries. The system’s seven sites (Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve, Blue Hole Natural Monument, Half Moon Caye Natural Monument, South Water Caye Marine Reserve, Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve, Laughing Bird Caye National Park and Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve) illustrate the evolutionary history of reef development and are a significant habitat for threatened species, including marine turtles, manatees and the American marine crocodile, and in 1996 was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, under the name Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System.

The Great Blue Hole is a large submarine sinkhole which lies near the center of Lighthouse Reef, a small atoll 70km from the mainland and Belize City. The hole is circular in shape, over 300m across and 124 m deep, and was formed during several episodes of quaternary glaciation when sea levels were much lower. This site was made famous by Jacques Cousteau, who declared it one of the top ten scuba diving sites in the world. The actual name was created by British diver and author Ned Middleton after having lived in the country for six months.

About the stamps
The stamps are part of the 2005 definitive series of twelve stamps featuring Ecological and Heritage Sites around the country, about which I wrote here

Great Blue Hole - Wikipedia
Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System - UNESCO official website

Sender: Joseph Koop (direct swap)
Sent from Spanish Lookout (Belize), on 01.07.2015
Photo: Tony Rath

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