Voice 1:'Okay. I'm just going to pop out to post this card to Denis in Hong Kong. Where are my goggles, snorkel and swimsuit?'
Voice 2: Yes, you did hear correctly. Jenny is going to send a postcard to a friend and she's going to wear a snorkel goggles and a swimming costume to go to the post office? What is going on? Where is she?
Voice 1: Lucky Jenny is on holiday in the tropical paradise of Vanuatu. Eleven years ago, the Vanuatu Postal Service opened a special facility with a difference - the world’s first underwater postbox. Customers have to put on swimming gear and use a snorkel if they want to post anything at the Vanuatu Hideaway Island’s unique postbox.
Voice 2: Vanuatu is a collection of tropical islands in the south-west Pacific Ocean, south of the Solomon Islands and east of the state of Queensland in Australia. Vanuatu is a holiday paradise for vacationers who want to get away from it all and just laze around on a perfect beach, and swim in a clear blue-green sea.
Voice 1: ‘Hideaway Island’ is exactly what its name suggests. It’s a quiet holiday island with almost deserted white, sandy beaches, beautiful coral reefs and crystal clear water. The underwater postbox is located in a quiet cove about a fifteen-minute drive from the main town, Port Vila.
Voice 2: The fibre-glass built box is located on the seabed about fifty metres from the shore. A flag above the waterline shows divers where to swim. The postbox is emptied each day at three in the afternoon by one of Vanuatu’s specially trained scuba divers who marks each item of mail with a special machine.
Voice 1: Instead of getting stamped with ink to show that a card has been sent, the diver uses a device to emboss a mark on each card posted. The postbox accepts both local and international mail.
Voice 2: But the big question about all this, how does a postcard posted underwater stay dry? The Vanuatu Postal Service worked this one out before they opened the post office. Customers wanting to use the underwater postbox must first buy special waterproof cards.
Voice 1: Since opening in 2003, Hideaway Island’s underwater postbox has received more than two Hundred thousand items. And the Vanuatu Tourist Board are quick to point out that a trip to the underwater post box involves much more than just posting a card. Visitors get to swim through a stunning underwater landscape to there - much more interesting than a walk down the road to the postbox on the corner of your street.