Hot-mail at volcano post-box | Pacific Beat

Hot-mail at volcano post-box

Hot-mail at volcano post-box

Updated 22 March 2012, 2:31 AEDT

Well, you've heard of Vanuatu's underwater post-office, where divers can dip in and mail a letter.

Now, Vanuatu Post is going to the other extreme, by placing a mailbox on the slopes of Mt. Yasur, an active volcano. The volcano post box, known affectionately as 'hot mail', is the second in a series of "extreme" post boxes to be launched by Vanuatu Post. Thousands of people have already visited the underwater post-office, and Vanuatu Post is hoping the volcano post-box proves as much of a drawcard.

RYAN: It's really interesting. I'd be surprised if there's a post-box in a more exciting location anywhere in the world.

It is literally up the rim of Mt. Yasur: many of the listeners may have become familiar with Mt. Yasur from the Survivor series that was screened in Vanuatu some time ago. And it is the world's most accessible active volcano; basically people can access the volcano by four-wheel drive or by horse and the volcano is actually erupting 20 to 30 times per hour, minor eruptions, molten lava, very, very hot place and to have a post-box at this location it makes for an exciting time.

PATRONI: You mentioned that it is pretty rough to get up there, you know, you either go by horse or by four-wheel drive. How will you get the post-box to stay on top of the mountain if there is an explosion or molten lava running down the side of it?

RYAN: Well that's a very good point. We obviously... this is one of the few locations that we can't absolutely be 100 per cent sure that the mail's going to get through.

The post-box, which we're opening officially on May 31, is close to the rim of the crater.

Don't get me wrong - it's out of immediate harm's way. Having said that, it is an active volcano and we can never be sure what's going to happen. But basically we will be clearing the mail every day and we'd like to think that most of the mail will get through.

If the mail box should end up in the crater we won't be going in after it let's just say.

PATRONI: Is it only for the adventurer that can post a letter from there or do you think the average person will be able to get up there to post a note to their friends and family back wherever they come from?

RYAN: No look it's surprisingly accessible. The roads are quite rough having said that and as I said earlier you need to either go in by four-wheel drive or by horseback. But once you arrive at the carpark area it is a short stroll up the volcano itself, it's not a huge volcano.

So, I would imagine that any fit and able person could in fact make that trip if they chose to.

PATRONI: The underwater mailbox is quite large because it has to fit a scuba diver inside to stamp the postcard. How big will the post-box on Yasur be?

RYAN: It's a little different in that as you said the underwater post office we actually have a scuba diver who physically mans the underwater post office at certain times of the day where people can dive down in their snorkelling gear and have their mail stamped and then post those letters in the underwater post-box that's nearby.

The volcano post is a bit different in that there's only a post-box itself there, there's no person manning the post-box. The post-box just stands there as you might expect to find a post-box on any street corner.

But it is in a startling location because all the way you walk up the volcano, as you get near the top you see this post-box right near the rim of the volcano, it's a very unusual place, and you simply write out your postcard, imagine the things you can write right on the edge of an active volcano, pop that in the mailbox and then Vanuatu Post will ensure that that gets back to you.

It is a dangerous place and it really, there are warning signs, it's very much an 'enter at your own risk' environment.

But we know that there are plenty of adventurous people out there and judging by the number of people that are going up the volcano every day we're confident that it will be quite a hit with tourists visiting Tanna.

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