Remember the last time you were diving underwater and you suddenly remembered an important letter you had to post that very instant? Yup, it has happened to all of us. Fortunately, these five places have us covered.
Hideaway Island, Vanuatu
The underwater post office off the coast of Hideaway Island in the island nation of Vanuatu is one of the most famous in the world. It was established in 2003 and is located in 3 meters of water. The post office provides special waterproof postcards that tourists can drop into the submerged post box with their own hands, or ask the staff to do so.
At a designated time, a scuba-donning postal worker dives down to the postbox, retrieves the postcards from the postbox, stamps them while still underwater and sends them on their way. Instead of ink, which would wash away in water, the postcards are stamped with a special emboss device.
Susami Bay, Japan
The small fishing town of Susami, in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan, has the distinction of creating the world’s first underwater mailbox. Until the creation of another underwater mailbox in Malaysia, the Susami mailbox was the deepest underwater postbox in the world, at a depth of 10 meters.
The postbox was created as part of a fair in 1999 to promote the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail and surrounding areas in the southern part of Wakayama’s Kii Peninsula. Before the mailbox, Susami had no special attraction. Toshihiko Matsumoto, the then-postmaster of the town, put forth the idea of an undersea postbox.
Divers buy water-resistant postcards from a local store, write messages on them with an oil-based paint marker and drops them on to an old, red postbox situated underwater. Once every few days, an employee of the shop collects the mails from the postbox and takes them to the local post office.
Every year, the mailbox receives between 1,000 to 1,500 pieces of mail, and 32,000 pieces of mail have been posted in the underwater mailbox since its creation.
Pulau Layang-Layang, Malaysia
The Malaysia postal department broke records in 2015 when it launched an underwater post box at Layang-Layang at a depth of 40 meters below sea level.
Postcards sent from the underwater mailbox are sealed in waterproof plastic bags, have a special postmark, and are stamped with the Malaysia Book of Records logo.
The underwater post office in the town of Risor, on the southern Norwegian coast, is made out of a diving bell and is the only dry underwater post office in the world. The post office is located at a depth of 4 meters next to a pier. Visitors post their mail in a post box by the pier, which are then emptied, sealed in a watertight bag and taken down to the underwater post office. Inside the office’s dry environment, the mail is stamped and returned back to the surface, where it enters into normal post circulation.
The “Sea Floor” post office, in Bahamas, no longer exist, but it was the world’s first underwater post office created in 1939.
The undersea post office was created by US photographer John Ernest Williamson (1881-1966), who is recognized as one of the pioneers of undersea photography. In 1912, Williamson designed a chamber with a thick glass window which could be lowered to the sea floor. From inside this apparatus, which he called the “Williamson Photosphere”, the photographer was able to observe the undersea creatures and to take photographs.
In 1939, the Bahamas-Williamson Undersea Expedition to film underwater was started. To gather publicity about this expedition, the Sea Floor post office was created. The post office was short-lived; it closed in 1941.
In 1965, the Bahamas Postal department issued a set of stamps commemorating the Sea Floor post office.
This feature originally appeared in Amusing Planet.
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