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Archive for 2013

Shipping Art Internationally

You can’t put a price on a priceless object, even when it has to be shipped, but you can protect it along the way.

Packing up a painting, sculpture, photo or the components of an installation for international travel is nerve wracking for every artist, gallery owner and curator. But it doesn’t have to be panic-inducing.

There are some well-established strategies for succeeding at getting your artwork from here to there intact. With some care, forethought and the following guidelines, you can ensure that your artwork arrives without a scratch.

A lot of what is discussed below comes down to the concept of a carrier that is specifically experienced in shipping art internationally. Sure, mail services can offer generic packages, but there’s no comparison between those and the professional outfit that moves art from place to place as a full-time enterprise.

Before You Pack: Step one is to document the state of the object you are shipping. Photograph everything from every angle prior to the first layer of wrapping and before the first crate is filled. This is the record of the artwork’s condition that you hope you’ll never have to use, but you want to have it on hand nonetheless.

Packing: There’s no one-size-fits-all for shipping art. Artwork must be protected on the level of the individual piece. Foam and crate dimensions must be custom-made for your particular object. Don’t work with a shipping service that can’t or won’t take that step. You want to see an internal framework with bracing and padding to frame the artwork within the crate so that nothing can move during transit.

Furthermore, confirm that every element of the transportation process will be climate-controlled, protecting the piece from heat, cold and humidity. If your artwork is being shipped overseas, make sure the shipping company you hire uses moisture prevention bagging or vapor barrier bagging. This will prevent salt water or vapor from harming your sensitive item.

Make certain that all labels are marked clearly. International ports and shipping centers mean language differences, so make certain that you minimize reading confusion by writing on your shipping labels in all caps. Letter and number codes for provinces and streets can vary in unusual ways, so triple check every address.

Customs Considerations: The dynamics of crossing borders with merchandise are ever shifting.Some years a country won’t let certain kinds of wood into their territory (the concern is usually insect related). Other times politics can interfere with the easy transit of a gallery or museum’s materials. Research is key to a successful shipment – and again, a pro shipping company is going to key you into just these kinds of variables and help reduce the hassle of shipping by addressing these issues in advance. For example, these companies will take care of the above crate problem by using heat-treated wood crates to reduce the risk of pest infestation. The box will be labeled with a “bug stamp,” which certifies it safe for international travel.

Insurance: Maybe you’re thinking theft, but the experienced art shipper is also thinking damage. Fact is, according to the New York Times, during the last decade, damage outpaced crime when it came to shipping art overseas. Also a concern is a legitimately lost article. You want to buy protection against all of these events.

An insurance policy on your international art shipment should cover every detail – from packing to pick-up, right up to the point of delivery. You also want a carrier that will insure for the full value of the piece. Some will try to set coverage at the sale price or less. Talk with insurance professionals who have experience dealing with fine art. Art couriers with insurance knowledge will understand the threats of certain materials, such as certain kinds of bubble wrap that can leak chemicals when warm (potentially ruining paintings and photos). The savvy art shipper will also know, for example, that sending and receiving fragile goods in Honduras during the stormy months of June–November requires more careful consideration than at other times of the year.

Always go with a company that will not only adequately insure your expensive piece, but has the knowledge to not make avoidable mistakes that can severely damage your piece while in transit. The nail-biting factor when shipping art may never go away, but with knowledgeable support from an experienced shipper, you’re in shape to get through each step with assurance that everything will go smoothly from beginning to end. Then follow the above guidelines and be involved in as many steps as you can along the way. Once the work is unpacked and showcased in its next location, you’ll be satisfied and glad you followed these steps.

James O’Brien’s work can be found at Mashable, Forbes.com, TheAtlantic.com and elsewhere. He writes about media, finance, business and travel.

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Enjoy Scuba Diving in Paradise Utila

There are plenty of dive sites to choose from around the world, and each has its own unique set of offerings when it comes to reef dives, cave dives, wreck dives, and more. But few places in the world compare to the island of Utila, which is truly a paradise on land and an even more spectacular paradise beneath the waves.

Divers from all over the world flock to Utila, the third smallest island of the Honduras Bay Islands, to dive the second largest reef system in the world. The reef is also known as the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. The waters surrounding Utila are home to over 50 species of coral and over 220 species of fish, as well as innumerable invertebrates.


Photo Credit: Scubaben

So Many Diverse Dive Sites to Choose From
Utila is a perfect diving location for all levels of scuba divers, from the beginner to the experienced. With more than 90 different dive sites, this little island is perfect for anyone looking for the adventures of a wreck dive, the thrill of a cave dive, or the exquisite beauty of a reef dive.

Before you even arrive in Utila, give yourself ample amounts of time for your trip to provide you with enough opportunity to decide upon what dive sites you want to tackle. But be aware that, with so many to choose from, it can certainly be difficult to narrow down the choices. If you are not able to choose, there are many dive centers on Utila that can help you and can take you on some epic dives.

The north side of the island is where you want to focus your attention if you are looking to dive the second largest barrier reef on the planet. Here, you will experience colorful fish and reef creatures, along with awe-inspiring walls that will drop to over 1,000 meters deep.

The south side, on the other hand, offers shallower dives that are great for beginner level divers. But here, too, you can experience the astonishing beauty of the natural coral reefs and the myriad fish species and invertebrates that call it home.
Some of the Most Spectacular Utila Dive Sites
Halliburton 211 – For more experienced divers, the Halliburton 211 is a thrilling wreck dive. This massive boat is now home to a new ecosystem that contains corals and fish, which naturally developed upon it after it sank. You will find multiple dive centers in Utila that can take you to this famous wreck.

Turtle Harbor – Again, if you are an experienced diver in Utila, Turtle Harbor is another spot you can enjoy swimming with larger species of fish, such as barracuda, nurse sharks, groupers, and much more. There are also sheer wall South East Sites – There are a variety of shallower dive sites in the South East end of Utila, making this a great spot for less experienced divers who want to enjoy the reefs and marine animals up close.

Photo Credit: Max Kueng

Whale Shark Spotting is Easy in Utila
In Utila, as in all of Honduras, the majestic whale shark is actually a protected species. So if you want to be in the water at the same time as the largest fish in the world, Utila is the diving destination you want to book for your next trip. Whale sharks are found swimming throughout the waters of this pristine island throughout the entire year, so you can rest assured that you can book your trip during any month and you will still be able to swim next to these massive creatures.
Other Marine Animals Found in Utila
The whale shark is not the only marine animal you will find in Utila. Of course, you will encounter myriad fish species, from schools of tiny fish to those that are larger in size and even more colorful, as well as the many small animals that make their homes within the complex reef system, such as seahorses and invertebrates. And the corals that thrive along the reef system are also brilliantly colorful and fully alive, so take care as you dive, as the reef has been maintained as pristine as possible and you do not want to accidentally cause any damage or harm to this extremely delicate ecosystem.

Divers in Utila can also expect to swim alongside manta rays, sea turtles, moray eels, eagle rays, and dolphins on a regular basis. These tropical waters are home to so many marine mammals and fish that you are guaranteed to see something that takes your breath away.

Rutger Thole is an avid scuba diver and loves to travel, dive and write about scuba diving. Based in Amsterdam he runs bookyourdive.com and at least twice a year he plans a dive trip of the beaten track.

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The beaches of Honduras continuously draw countless numbers of visitors each year. The ideal climate conditions experienced in Honduras throughout much of the year inspires people to visit the country’s seaside locations to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities while basking in the warm sunshine. Some of the most noteworthy beaches are located on the country’s Bay Islands. Travelers who choose to spend a holiday in Honduras and wish to explore the local beaches can easily arrange a car hire. These five beaches are among the best in Honduras:

West Bay Beach

Located on the island of Roatán, this beach is famous for its white sand and radiant turquoise-blue seawater. Many visitors come to this beach to enjoy activities like snorkeling, diving and sunbathing. The beach also features several different restaurants, bars and shops as an added convenience for visitors.

Coca-Cola Beach

This beach was unofficially named Coca-Cola Beach due to its proximity to the famous soft drink’s depot located in Puerto Cortes. Many locals come to this beach during the weekends to enjoy the cool seaside breezes and fun beachside activities. Due to its immense popularity, visitors who arrange a car hire should have no trouble finding this seaside fun spot.

Guanaja Beach

Visitors can find this beach along the waterfront of Guanaja Island. People who would like to enjoy a calmer and more secluded experience will find this beach to be particularly ideal. Lush tropical forestry adds to the beauty of the beach. Visitors can also hike slightly further inland through the forest to find the spectacular Big Gully waterfall. People also have the option of partaking in horseback riding and boating excursions while visiting this tropical paradise. Cabins along the beachfront are additionally open to accommodate guests.

Cayos Cochinos

The unnamed beaches along these coral islands provide a wonderland for avid snorkelers. People can take snorkeling tours to see the exquisite underwater reef formations. Snorkelers are also likely to see numerous species of tropical fish and other forms of fascinating marine life. Exciting boating tours can also be arranged around these islands.

La Ceiba Beach

Known for its vibrant atmosphere, this beach attracts many families and individuals who are looking for some excitement. Some of the best restaurants, shops and nightclubs in Honduras can be found in the vicinity. Visitors can also take in the impressive views of the mountain known as Pico Bonito. There are also several banana plantations located near the beach.

This was a guest blog entry from Skedaddle Car Hire, if you’d like to know more about travelling by car to beautiful beaches, head to their site.

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