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When the sleepy South Pacific republic of Vanuatu wanted to stamp itself on the map--and lure more tourists--it opened the world's first underwater post office. The fiberglass booth hunkers down on the seabed of Hideaway Island, a coral atoll (donut-shaped reef island enclosing a lagoon). Customers dive 3 meters (9.8 feet) to mail postcards made of Syntek, a plastic-like material. Instead of ink stamps, scuba-geared postal workers process penciled-in cards with an embossing machine.

The attraction celebrates the archipelago's (island group) rich marine life. "The water is clean and free from urban runoff," explains Ian Hollins of Vanuatu Post. Vibrant corals and thousands of tropical fish species flourish here. So swim on down!
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Title Annotation:Freeze Frame; Vanuatu opens underwater ost office
Author:Chiang, Mona
Publication:Science World
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:8VANU
Date:Sep 22, 2003
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