Thursday, October 22, 2009

Divi Divi Plane Ditches off Klein Bonaire

A Divi Divi commuter plane landed in the water about (my best guess) a half mile off the SW corner of Klien Bonaire this morning. Reports say that all eight passengers have been rescued, but we're getting mixed signals about the pilot. Some say that he was trapped in his seat, and others say he got out and swam to Klein Bonaire.

Here are some pictures of the rescue boats, as seem from Donkey Beach / Airport Beach.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Big Bonaire Bike Sale

Miguel, at Bonaire Wellness is having a big sale at his shop on all his cycling clothes, shoes, helmets, camelbaks, and bikes. One bike that caught my eye is the Cannondale Caffeine F2 for NAf 3250. ($1825) A couple of my biking buddies have this bike and really love it. I priced the F2 once in the States and found that even if I were to buy one on sale, by the time I shipped it to Bonaire and paid the import duty, I'd have spent more than Miguel's sale price. That's pretty cool, since most things cost more here.

Speaking of sales, I'm selling my trusty Cannondale mtn. bike for a mere NAF 950, ($533) complete with Deore XT components and two sets of wheels. It is probably about the same weight at the new Cannondale F2, but less than one third the price. Of course, unlike the F2 with its Lefty fork, my bike rides super stiff and will rattle your fillings on our bumpy Bonairian coral trails. But for someone who wants a bike that goes fast both on and off road, it would be a good deal.

Why am I selling my trusty steed you might ask. Well, I bought a new one. A number of bikes have passed through my Bonaire bike stable over the years but I think it has been about 17 years since I've purchased a brand new one. It's a 29er. A 29er has larger wheels than a normal mtn. bike, which is also known as a 26er. The riding position of the new bike is better for a tall rider like me, and the large wheels smooth out the rugged Bonairian trails quite nicely. I am waaaay faster downhill on this bike than on my old one. This means that the good riders only drop me going uphill now, instead of dropping me onthe uphills AND the downhills!
The down side is that the new bike weighs quite a bit more than my old one, but for most of my riding that doesn't matter. I'll try to scrounge up some lighter parts from time to time if I can find them and afford them. For example, I've already bagged a used front wheel and tire on eBay that weighs about a pound less than the one that came with the bike.

The picture shows the size of a 29er wheel compared to one of my 26er wheels. They really do seem huge until I start riding the bike. Then they come into their own as they roll over stuff my old bike used to chatter across. Yippie.

November 1 Bonaire Bike Race

The new Bonaire mtn. bike race loop that I wrote about back in May is going to be the scene of 2009's second mtn. bike race. You can read all about it on the Bonaire Wellness web site. There is even a picture of me on that page. whoo whoo!

Miguel has decided to use the slightly longer version of the loop, which is about 5.1 miles (8.2Km) long and has about 567 feet (173m) of climbing per lap. This trail is about a mile from my house, so I zoom over there and ride this loop quite often. It is a lot of fun because it is more single track in nature than the dirt roads we usually ride on.

I have posted helmet cam video of the whole race loop on Youtube. There are four clips that show the whole route if you watch them in order. The first kilometer of the route is a paved road that seems to go uphill forever. This will spread out the riders so that they don't crash into each other when they hit the single track trail sections where the real fun starts.

Here are links to the four video clips. Parts one and two constitute the mostly uphill first half of the course. Parts three and four make up the mostly downhill second half of the course. The second half is more technical than the first half, but still ok for the average rider.
Part one.
Part two.
Part three.
Part four.
When we were shooting the video, we rode at a recreational pace as opposed to a race pace, because I wanted to be able to try to keep my head as still as possible so as to keep the video from being too jumpy.

You can see the location of the race course on a map of Bonaire on Map My Run dot com. Be sure to click on "Satellite Map" in the drop down box at the top middle of the screen to see the cool picture of Bonaire. This map is a little different than the one in the link of my May post because this is the longer variant of the course and the May link shows the shorter version of the loop.

FM Transmitter project

Our FM transmitter, here on Bonaire, died last December. We obtained parts from as far away as California and Italy and had it back on the air for about a week or so in the spring. When it died again, our engineers recommended that we not put any more time and money into the old transmitter, which has been acting up for quite some time. So we are raising money to buy a new transmitter.

We'll need about ten thousand six hundred guilders ($5955) for the new transmitter, and the various costs and fees to get it here. We've distributed some fliers in English and Papiamentu here on the island, and have some promotional spots on the air as well.

How can we have announcements on the air if our transmitter is dead you ask? Well, the Voice of Bonaire radio station has graciously loaned us their backup transmitter.

So far we have received almost three thousand guilders from our listeners here on Bonaire and I anticipate that we could be about half way to our goal by the end of the year. I think we could actually meet our goal by the end of this year if some of our overseas friends would assist with this project too. You can make a contribution online here at the TWR global Web site.

Water Works

We have a cold water based air conditioning system in the TWR studios here on Bonaire. The noisy compressors and condenser fans are located in an adjacent building which keeps the noise and vibration out of the recording areas, and the cold water that they make is pumped around to the various offices and studios to keep them cool. We've been losing water from the system, and after checking all the zillions of pipes running throughout the site, we think it might be leaking out of the big cement water storage tank that helps even out the day / night loads on the system. So we've borrowed the 1600 gallon plastic tank shown above from WEB, patched it into the system, and have drained the water out of our 7000 gallon main tank so we can look for and repair any leaks. The plastic tank is in the process of being bundled up in pink insulation to help keep the cold water cold.
Adding the temporary tank into the circuit was a plumber's nightmare, complete with stuck valves and broken pipes, but the guys were able to pull it off with a minimum of leakage and a minimum of down time.

Here we see Ron, Ivan, and Benny breathing a big sigh of relief after getting the system back up and operating on the temporary tank. Over the weekend we've noticed that we are still losing some water from the system, arg. We'll clean the sludge out of the main tank and inspect it for leaks, but it might not be the main culprit after all.

Heavy Lifting

Pittsburgh may have its Steelers, but a team on Bonaire moved some serious steel this past weekend. A bunch of us from the International Bible Church moved all the beams for our new church building from behind Amado Felix's house in Hato, where they've been in storage, to the site of the new church building.
The Green Label nursery lent us their heavy duty truck to haul the steel, and the rest of us pitched in like a swarm of ants to move the giant beams.

They say, "many hands make light work" and in this case the results were obvious.

All the steel parts of the building are now laid out on pallets at the construction site. Walt will power wash the beams this week, and we'll wire brush and touch up any rusty areas. We plan to have a big painting party next Saturday.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Rainy Season is Here

September was reasonably windy this year. And unlike what often happens, we did have wind for the 42nd Bonaire Regatta back at the beginning of October. The winds weren't super strong, and varied a lot, but it seems to me that any wind is better than no wind. New records were set for the around Bonaire race, which is pretty cool. I didn't take any boat pictures this year, which might be a record too.

We had a big day of rain at the beginning of the week and another big rainy day on Saturday. Donna measured almost an inch of rain on Saturday. The temperatures have dropped a little bit now, and we get some rain most every morning. So I think we can safely say that rainy season, Bonaire style, is officially here.

Bonaire is looking super green already. We've mowed the weeds in our back yard once so far and it is due for another trimming. Some parts of the yard even look like real grass lawn.