MELVILLE

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The "Melville" is a US research vessel operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and used for deep sea oceanographic work. It was built in 1969 and is 85 metres long and is based in San Diego. She is shown above off Honolulu during a photo shoot.

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MELVILLE1.  2001 (OCTOBER 12th) Cover from France to Melville at Easter Island   Price US$6

Note: This cover bears two French stamps with Easter Island designs. On arrival at Easter Island the envelope had the vessels cachet applied as well as a Easter Island sticker at lower left and the cachet at upper left.

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MELVILLE2.  2002 (January 14th) Cover posted paquebot at Lyttelton   Price US$5

Note : The "Melville" had arrived at Lyttelton on the morning of 14th January following a trans-Pacific transect from Easter Island. Because its last port of call was in Easter Island (Chilean Territory) the Melville was entitled to post mail at Lyttelton bearing Chile stamps.

The "Melville" is shown at right arriving in Lyttelton in the early hours of January 14th.

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MELVILLE3.  2002 (January 14th) Cover posted on arrival at Lyttelton.   Price US$3

Note: The above cover has a ordinary New Zealand postage stamp and has been posted locally at the normal local 40 cents postage rate.

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MELVILLE4.  2002 (January 14th) Cover posted on arrival at Lyttelton.   Price US$8

Note: The above cover was posted through the United States Forces Post Office in Christchurch and has been autographed at bottom left by the ships' master, Captain Chris Curl.

The cachet at right is on the back of the above cover. Interestingly the red APO postmark on the above cover is usually only found on registered APO mail.

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Chris Curl, the master of the "Melville" on his bridge.

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MELVILLE5.  2002 (January 14th) Cover posted on arrival at Lyttelton.   Price US$3

Note: The above cover was posted in the ordinary New Zealand mail stream at the 40 cent local postal rate. It bears two stickers at top left as well as the "Melville" ship's cachet at lower left.

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The Melville's bronze builders plate is affixed to the bulkhead behind the bridge. It is surmounted by the portrait shown at right of the famous sailor and writer after whom the vessel is named

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SOFEX PROGRAM 2002

Following interesting results acquired by the New Zealand vessel "Tangaroa" 2 seasons ago  the US National Science Foundation decided to conduct similar tests in both tropical and Antarctic waters to see the results of seeding the ocean with trace amounts of Iron and then measuring the change in plankton levels in the water.  Because of the large number of American science teams wanting to participate in the Antarctic part of the program it was decided to involve three vessels. These were the two Scripps Institution Oceanographic vessels "Roger Revelle" and "Melville" and the US Coast Guard vessel "Polar Star".  The "Roger Revelle" was mainly responsible for taking the base measurements before iron seeding the Ocean.

The "Melville" is shown at right arriving in Lyttelton from the Antarctic on February 26th during an unseasonally wet and grey early morning.

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Approaching the Lyttelton wharf.

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Coming alongside the wharf to tie up.

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MELVILLE6.  2002 (February 26th) Cover posted on arrival at Lyttelton.   Price US$6

Note: This cover has been posted through the American Operation Deep Freeze Post Office on arrival back at Lyttelton from the Antarctic and has the usual FPO postmark. It also bears the SOFeX Program cachet and the smaller "Melville" cachet.

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MELVILLE7.  2002 (February 26th) Cover posted on arrival at Lyttelton.   Price US$8

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Note: the above cover is similar to the previous one but it has also been autographed by the ships' master, Captain Chris Curl.

Chis is shown at left in his office on board the "Melville" autographing the above envelopes envelopes prior to posting them.

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MELVILLE8.  2002 (February 26th) Cover posted on arrival at Lyttelton.   Price US$6

Note: the above cover was also posted through the Operation Deep Freeze USAPO but it has been postmarked with the usual red registered postmark which shows in this instance signs of deforming to a oval shape.

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MELVILLE9.  2002 (February 26th) Signed cover posted through Ross Agency.   Price US$8

Note: this autographed cover was posted through the Ross Dependency agency on arrival back in New Zealand from the Antarctic.


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