Thursday, November 30, 2006

Dog - proof Buggy

As careful readers of my blog will know, one of our dogs ate the spark plug wires off our "new" dune buggy. Talk about meals on wheels.

I was able to buy a set of wires here on Bonaire, but they must have been old old stock, because the Bakelite ends broke almost as quickly as I installed them.

So I ordered some from a buggy shop in PA. They arrived yesterday and I installed them today.

Here is a picture of the buggy, complete with new wires, anti-dog barrier, and the prime culprit giving me the evil eye.

Sunrise, Sunset...

I was reading the December "Sky and Telescope" magazine today at lunch time, and noticed that the earliest sunset at 40 degrees north latitude will be on December 7. The earliest sunset here on Bonaire appears to be around November 20! Our afternoons are already about a minute longer down here.

I first noticed this phenomenon many years ago, while doing my daily after work bike rides. I always try to get home by sunset, and one year, right about now, I thought that the sun seemed to be setting a little later, and began to investigate.

Sure enough. The earliest sunset here on Bonaire is in November and the latest sunrise appears to be around the last week of January.

Back when we lived on the seaside, I carefully timed the sunset each afternoon one year, just to be sure. It was quite cloudy and hazy this year, so I probably couldn't have checked it out even if I had wanted to.

Astronaut on Bonaire

Former NASA astronaut, Charles Boldens, is here on Bonaire for a week. He is getting in some diving, but is mostly making presentations to a whole bunch of school classes. He is doing one for the general public tonight, which I had planned to attend. But I'm home dog sitting while Sandra and the puppy are at doggie training class.

Bob Lassiter sent me this picture of "Charlie" in action here on Bonaire. Bob has heard most of the talks and says he has done a wonderful job.
There is some additional background information on the Bonaire Insider if you'd like to know more.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

More Birds

While I was watching some pelicans dry themselves our (see the post below this one) I snapped pictures of a couple other birds that were amusing themselves in the shallow pools of water.

Early Birds

I was on my early morning bike ride last Saturday when I noticed a lot of pelicans hanging out in one general area. I drove back there Tuesday morning with my camera and hung out with them for a while.

The birds seemed to be positioning themselves to catch breeze and the first rays of the sun in order to dry themselves out.

It looks like there are three different types of pelicans in these pictures. The one on the left has a white head and neck. The one in the middle had a white head and a two tone neck, while the one on the right is all brown up there.

Cinnamon Toast and Sinterklaas

A dozen or so of us guys from the International Bible Church of Bonaire got together Saturday morning at the City Cafe for an informal farewell breakfast for Udo Luse. Udo and Bernie will be retiring from Trans World Radio and moving near their sons in California soon.

As we were contentedly munching our Mueslli, Sinterklass arrived, from Spain, on a tugboat at the pier across the street. We had a ringside seat. There were hoards of people, dignitaries, and a drum corps there to greet him.

If you'd like to learn more about Sinterklaas, scroll to the right side of this page and check out one of my first blog postings, still in the archives from November 2003.

Thank you Leila for this great picture of the man himself. More pictures of this year's event can be found in the Bonaire Insider photo gallery.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Top of the Hill

One of my fellow hikers caught me in action while I was shooting photos at the top of the hill we climbed last Saturday.

It was a good clear day for climbing hills. The Frankes climbed Brandaris and could see all of Curacao quite well. They got rained on while coming back down Brandaris and found that the rocks become slippery when wet. They also discovered that it can get quite cold in a 20 mph. wind when you are soaking wet.

It didn't rain on our part of the island and I got somewhat fried by the sun.

New Panorama

I stitched together three photos from the top of the hill we climbed last Saturday. The pictures got warped when I put them together, but it is still interesting to get an overview of the part of Bonaire where the majority of the population lives.

You can find the full size photo here. It is something 6145x750 pixels pixels, and about 900 megs in size.

If you view the photo at full size, you can see the salt company towards the left side, and then the towers of TWR as you move along the horizon towards the right. You can see Curacao on the horizon over the right end of Klein Bonaire.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Here is the track from our trip to the cool hilltop east of Antriol yesterday. (see pix in the post below this one) We started at the TWR offices and headed east on Kaya Amsterdam, etc. The funny loop part at the right side of the picture is where we hiked on foot. The rest was by car.

Here is a close up of where we parked and hiked. We went up on the track to the right and came down on the track to the left. The left side was much better. If we do it again, we'll go both up and down on that left hand "path." Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 18, 2006


We climbed a hill east of Antriol on Saturday. Some of the terrain reminded me a teeny tiny bit of Moab Utah.

I love this hill because it is only a few minutes from town, but it's like we were in a whole 'nuther world out there.

Here's Sandra getting in some rock climbing.

Looking to the East, we could see all the way to the Spelonk lighthouse. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Meteor Shower Saturday Night

The peak of the Leonid meteor shower is expected around 11:45 p.m. Eastern Time this Saturday night. That's 12:45 a.m. Sunday morning here on Bonaire. If we have clear skies, I'll be outside to see what I can see.

I think the two most amazing things I've ever seen were the total solar eclipse here on Bonaire in 1988, and the Leonid Meteor shower, also here on Bonaire, in 1991 I think.

I don't normally stay up until the wee hours of the morning to observe meteor showers, but I do make an exception for Leonid shower, just in case it goes off like it did in 1991.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Royal Visit

Her Majesty, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands was here on Bonaire last week on Wednesday and Thursday. She toured a number of places on the island, talked with lots of the people who turned out to see her, and opened an art exhibition.

I was squirreled away in my office trying to catch up after being away for a week, so I never saw her, but Bob Lassiter snapped this nice photo of Queen Beatrix in Rincon.

You can read more about the Queen's visit and see lots of pictures at the Bonaire Insider web site.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Mercury Transits the Sun update

I was in the States for a week taking care of some personal business, but returned to Bonaire just in time to watch Mercury pass in front of the Sun on Wednesday afternoon. The whole transit was to take about five hours, but when the Sun set here, Mercury had only gotten partway across the solar disk.

We saw Venus pass in front of the sun a few years ago. (go to the index on the right side of the page to find some pix on my June 8, 2004 blog posting) Mercury is much smaller than Venus, but still looked pretty cool in the telescope. There was a big sun spot too.

The camera that I use with the ETX-90 telescope is pretty much dead after a close encounter with the floor, so I didn't get any good pictures. I'll have to get an adaptor so I can use my new camera with the scope I guess. Mercury will next pass in front of the Sun in 2016 and Venus will transit the Sun in 2012, so I've got some time, heh-heh.

Ok, Terri twisted my arm... here is the best picture. The blob at the top left edge of the sun's disk is a sunspot. There is a smaller spot towards the lower right part of the picture, about one third of the way up on the sun's disk. That's Mercury.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Doggone Dogs

The dogs decided that the pup needed to dress up like Frankenstein's monster for Halloween. Check out his nice staples.