Mail a coconut from the Molokai, Hawaii post office

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I just returned from a trip to Hawaii with my family. We spent most of our time on Maui but we took a day trip (by ferry) to the island of Molokai, which is famous for its leper colony founded by a Roman Catholic priest named Father Damien in the 19th century.

Compared to Oahu, Maui, the Big Island, and Kauai, Molokai is very undeveloped, with a population of only 7,000 people. I took quite a few photographs during our brief visit to this beautiful and interesting island and I will post more about Molokai later this week, but I wanted to share one highlight: the Post-A-Nut service offered by the Hoolehua Post Office. Here, you can select a free coconut and mail it, unboxed, anywhere in the world simply by writing an address and sticking postage stamps on it.

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post-a-nut-8.jpg The post office is situated in the middle of a farming area, and has two signs on the outside of the building advertising its Post-A-Nut service.

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The postmaster, Gary Lam, greeted us warmly and apologized for not having enough coconuts to choose from, even though there were about a dozen available in plastic bins on the floor. (No other customers were in the post office.)

post-a-nut-4.jpg He went into the back and brought out a large mail sack and dumped another dozen coconuts into the bins.

post-a-nut-3.jpg My kids selected three coconuts and used markers from a box on the counter to decorate and address them to their friends and relatives. post-a-nut-5.jpg

Note that the coconuts are free, but only if you mail one from from the post office. Seems fair to me!

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Postmaster Lam told us that the Post-A-Nut service was started about 20 years ago, and that over 50,000 coconuts had been mail from his post office. (It costs about $10 to ship a coconut in United States.)

Even though the ferry ride back to Maui was so rough that my 8-year-old vomited a geyser of electric blue popsicle juice, she said the Post-A-Nut experience was worth the discomfort. I agree!