In Vanuatu, there is an underwater post office! Incredible ... Thank you, Didier!
In Vanuatu, there is an underwater post office! Incredible ... Thank you, Didier!

A postcard mailed under the sea in Vanuatu

  Between Two Journeys

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation of an article originally written in French. I apologise for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have resulted. If you read French, click on the French flag below to access the original, correct text: 

Surprise of the day: I received a postcard from Vanuatu. A waterproof card, sent from a post office... underwater!

A postcard from far away: Vanuatu!

Where is Vanuatu?"You received a postcard," a colleague tells me as he joins us at lunchtime. A card that comes from far away..." He saw that the mail had arrived in the locker of our service, at the newspaper's headquarters Ouest-France, reindeer.

I discovered the postcard on my way back from lunch. Someone left it on my desk.

It is Didier, a reader of Bubbles Underwater & Beyondwho sent it to me. This passionate diver-traveler, had the pleasure of discovering Vanuatu, in July. We met IRL (in real life) in January 2013, at the diving lounge. I can't believe it! First of all, I am very touched by this friendly attention, it is really adorable from him...

And then, above all, this postcard is not commonplace. Not only because it comes from the other side of the world, in the middle of Oceania, but also because it was posted... under the sea! I love it !!!! 😃

In Vanuatu, there is an underwater post office! Incredible ... Thank you, Didier!
In Vanuatu, there's an undersea post office! Unbelievable... Thank you, Didier !

This waterproof postcard is made of a special material, which looks like paper but has the resistance of plastic. Kitsch as you like, with a "nice" photomontage, it represents the one and only underwater post office in the world.

Unbelievable!!! 😮

The only underwater post office in the world

The Vanuatu Underwater Post Office, with his postman-diver.
The Underwater Post Office of Vanuatu, with its letter carrier diver.

It's a real post office, all official.

It is located at a depth of 3 meters, about 50 meters from the shore of the island of Vanuatu which is called "Hideaway", Didier tells me, in the little note he wrote me on the back of the map. What a beautiful name!

The post office even has its own official website:
Underwater Post Office - Vanuatu Post

To learn more about this unique post office in the world, accessible by scuba diving or snorkeling, I invite you to read this article published in 2011 on the site of :
Submarine mailman in Vanuatu, how's that sound?

No, really, receiving a card posted underwater from Vanuatu, that's not trivial... And if one day I'm going to dive there, I think I won't resist the pleasure to post one too. Many thanks for this travel and underwater wink, Didier !!!


Update : but the most incredible part of the story is what I just learned, just after publishing this post, while chatting with Didier on Facebook. I copy and paste his message below:

"Glad you like it, Corinne! ???? In fact, this idea came to me naturally, especially since it was original to say the least... But the craziest thing in all this is that I am surprised that it reached you ! Indeed, while diving, I lost it ! That means that someone found it, and put it in the box instead of me! Incredible and therefore doubly happy ! 😉 "

Crazy, right? When you think of the number of things lost underwater and never found... Even more powerful than the bottle in the sea!

Finally, I also put below a video of the submarine post office, found on YouTube (but turn off the sound, the music hurts your ears):

  Between Two Journeys

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  1. @Corinne : mission accomplished ! This card is "a collector" considering the road full of pitfalls that it went through, since it was lost in the deep blue during my dive, and found by a happy and anonymous hand! I'm h e a l t h ! 🙄

    1. Yes, yes, prepaid card...Oh yes! Obviously, I didn't forget to send me one! 😆

  2. It's true, Vanuatu (kantri blong mifala... eh! we are not joking with Vanuatu elected Happiest country in the world in 2006) has the knack to propose improbable post offices, there is another one on the edges of Yasur, a nice volcano, active 24/365, that you can climb almost backwards so easy is its ascent.

    So of course, the postcard is inevitable: back at the office, it is the class of the return to school to have sent a card from a volcano or an underwater post, to his favorite colleagues.

    Besides these funny things, I was a bit annoyed when I went back there in 2009 to see that Port-Vila must be the only capital city in the world to have no cinema or bookstore... while in my time, we spent our lives as kids watching 3 StarWars movies in a row .... ahh (sigh) 🙄

    A book to send you, urgently, Corinne : "Everisamting yu wanem save blong toktok bislama be yu fraet long askem", Bichelamar language method in comic strip. Collector.

    And for Didier who had the chance to visit Vanuatu, I hope you didn't miss eating a tuluk at the market of VIla It's the best snack IN THE WORLD.. 😮 yes! yes! I swear!

    1. @curieuse voyageur: who knows? One day maybe the tickets will be waterproof too ! But in any case, if I had lost one in the water, no doubt I would never have found it,,, to the delight of its new owner!!! 😆

    2. @Ludovic : it is true that this box also exists in Yasur, but obviously, the difference, it is that one cannot dive in the crater!! 😉 And me, I found that very funny, even if it is for the tourists (not very numerous all the same!)The Yasur is very accessible, and it is so much better for those who are not very physical: but, it is a whole other pair of sleeve, to go on the volcano Garet on GAUA (5 h of walk + 1 h of dugout + 2/3 hours of ascent, in the outward journey!!! Ditto on Ambrym, for The Marum and Benbow (4 h +2 h on the outward journey) and all this in difficult conditions! 😛 For Vila, everything evolves, slowly but surely ! It is currently building a huge shopping center (Chinese!) with cinema, restaurant, stores, etc..(2014/2015). But the budget still does not exist to redo the broken roads (it was planned for the independence day of 30/7/2013)... 😳 Finally, from a food point of view, obviously, I am the style to taste in local (Laplap, tarot, kava!!) I was regularly going to eat at the market of Santo, but not of Vila, because I was lodged at the inhabitant's house, and stayed there only one night just before my return to France. I note for the comic book that I didn't see there: do you know where we can find it? 🙂

  3. This hardly credible story could be the prelude to a short story written by a modern day siren ... Why not?

  4. @Corinne : but yes, of course, Vanuatu how can you not put it in your travel list. On the other hand, on the diving side except on the Coolidge, it's clearly not at the level of Fiji or even New Cal (even if it hurts me to say that about the country where I grew up... 🙁 ). The biggest accessible wreck in the world (The Coolidge), the most accessible volcano in the world (Yasur), the most beautiful beach in the world (Champagne beach), the best snack in the world (Tuluk made by the women of Mélé at the Vila market). Vanuatu definitely the "plus" country. 😆

    @Didier: I had all the trouble in the world to get a copy of the bislama method illustrated in comics, I had found two copies at the Namba2 supermarket in Vila (100m from my old house in fact), I have not seen it elsewhere. Especially since there are no bookstores either in Vila or in Santo.
    So you missed the Vila tuluk! 😡 So you MUST go back!!!!

    1. Well... too bad about the comic book, but thanks for the answer !!! 🙁
      To go back there? Ah! But me, if I could, I would always go on a wander to the other side of the world! 🙄
      As for diving in Vanuatu, a subject of great interest to Corinne, I am not sure that it would be the ideal destination for our diver! It is not one of the most famous spots! Due to lack of time, I only made 2 dives, one on the wreck of the "USS Coolidge" and the other one on "One million dollars point": I did not find it great! It is true that the conditions were terrible: rain, wind, swell, very bad visibility... In short, not a good memory for me. Moreover, I find the diving club very "limit": equipment in bad condition, almost non-existent briefing, strange landings, and they don't trust the computers! Never seen anything like it! I had chosen Santo Island Diving, because it is the only one who has a boat ! And yes, with Allan Power for example, (other club) you have to swim there ! A little commando course ! Here is my point of view. Remain that I keep an excellent memory of Vanuatu for everything else! 🙄

  5. @Didier : yeah, Santo Island diving, not sure if it's the best choice, they are the newbies this may explain that, the fact of having a boat is not at all primordial, knowing that it's a shore dive! 😆
    Allan Power is the discoverer of this wreck, he himself has logged 15,000 dives on it and his senior guides have logged a minimum of 5,000 dives each. Unlike S.I.D., they have an "equipped base" in front of the Coolidge and an artificial reef which allows them to do the landings with safety blocks. Diving with Alfred or Garry is a real pleasure and a real laugh, nothing to do with a supposed commando course, on the contrary, I had dived the Coolidge at Allan Power with a photo editor from Lonely Planet who was really in roots discovery mode (and by comparison, it is usually a former biffin half-alcoholic and half-mytho who advises SID in Santo on the French forums, so it is likely that you got some information that was a bit... hmmh... biased information from the character).
    Also, it's unfortunate that you only did one dive on the Coolidge, Allan Power propose a 3 day program to get you used to the depth and to make you visit the more and more interesting places, with the "discovery" bridge-dive, you can't really realize the complexity of the places, there are some pretty strange atmospheres, Alien spaceship type, and I'm not even talking about the night dive with the phosphorescent fish. 😯
    Otherwise Aquamarine are the specialists of Tek and they have a very good experience of Coolidge in trimix or rebreather.

    That Vanuatu is not always consistent in terms of diving is what I said above, but Coolidge is clearly a must, even for those who, like me, do not like wrecks, and there are more coral dives to be done in PortVila, Moso, Lelepa or on the Tongoa wall.
    Knowing that Corinne does not stop at the diving aspect strictly speaking, I think she would find no problem to balance her time underwater with land aspects far above the average of the other Pacific islands, whether it is on a cultural or natural level 😉

  6. @Ludo : My choice to go to S.I.D was not only related to the boat : they are the only ones who do wreck dive and reef dives (and there, however, you need a boat !) 😉 . And I absolutely wanted to do both! Unfortunately, a very busy tour schedule as well as weather conditions decided otherwise! 😡 ; As for the gugus you want to talk about, it's a certain "Laurent" isn't it? But to me, old hand, I don't get it! I understood very quickly who I was dealing with before I even left ! Confirmed on the spot by local contacts. So, no, no influence from him in my choice! As for Aquamarine, it's not really popular anymore....
    No regrets not to have done more on the Coolidge, the rest largely met my expectations! 🙄

  7. Great to see that, I sent exactly the same postcard myself from Hideaway island in Vanuatu, and I also sent some from Mount Yasur in Tanna. By the way, I want to add that around the underwater post office, it is also the nicest snorkeling spot in Vanuatu (well, almost the only one). And the comments of Didier and Ludovic are very interesting. Indeed, Corinne, the Pacific will surely please you a lot, and you have to spend several months there. I had the chance to cross by sailboat from Fiji to Australia. And it's in Fiji, that I passed my PADI open water, in the Yasawas, superb. And a few weeks later, I was diving on the Coolidge and indeed, I think that Allan Power is very competent and that doing several dives is really worth it, I did 4 of them on 2 days and went to see "The Lady" at 42 m and the pool at 55 m, an incredible experience.

    1. @Emilyz: Arf, thank you for all these details ... You make me dream with your suggestions for the Pacific. It will be necessary for me to release time, a next day, to take advantage of it as it is necessary ...