Monday, August 30, 2010

Pelikaan School Pictures

Wilma, the principal of the Pelikaan school, graciously gave us a tour of their new school building the other day. It is both beautiful and functional. There is lots of room for their 185 students. Bright colors create a fun atmosphere. The classrooms are a lot bigger on the inside than they might appear from the outside.
A new section was added to the building between the original back wall and the basketball court. It contains bathrooms, offices, storage space and a couple classrooms.

Here is the main auditorium looking from the front to the back. You can see the hallways that extend beyond the original back wall of the building.

Here is the view from the back to the front. There is a conference room with kitchen facilities where the stage used to be. The front corner rooms, both upstairs and downstairs are useful storage areas.

The Pelikaan School is on the cover of the current edition of The Bonaire Reporter newspaper. You can read all about the school online.

Bonaire Mtn. Bikers Rule II

I'm pround to be able to announce that our Bonaire bikers continued their winning ways at the last ever Antillean National Championships yesterday. (the Netherlands Antilles will cease to exist on 10/10/10)

Carla and Gijs both won their respective race classes, and DJ bagged a second place finish in his group. Way to go team!!!
In the back row, from left to right, are DJ, Carla and Gijs. In front, from left to right are Frank and Floris. It will be interesting to hear about Frank's and Floris' adventures during the race because, on any given day, both of them are quite capable of podium-ing as well.

Now that my friends have proved that they are the "best of the best - with honors" I won't feel so discouraged when they put the hurt on me during our group rides here on Bonaire!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Church Kitchen and Nursery

I took these pictures almost a month ago. I'll have to get back and take some more because much progress has been made since then. This is the nursery area, and probably the temporary pastor's study, until the real study is added on the other side of the building.
The kitchen area is on the right and the nursery is through the door on the left. I'm standing in the entrance to the bathrooms.

There are double doors to the outside main entrance area as well into the auditorium area.

New IBCB Building in Use

The new church building of the International Bible Church of Bonaire is still under construction, but the church youth have already held a couple events there. This night, a few weeks ago, was a going away party for Leila, who was heading to the States to begin college. Her father, Joe, was asked to bring some words of advise and wisdom for her and her friends.
It wouldn't be a youth activity without food.
Yup, a roof over one's head and partial walls are plenty here on Bonaire. In fact the ventilation was great that night, even with the low winds we're experiencing this year.

Bonaire Mountain Bike Race

Miguel, of Bonaire Wellness is finishing up preparations for an Extreme Duo Mtn. Bike race here on Bonaire on October 24. The race route shown on Miguel's web page has been changed some. You can see an updated, but not final map of the race route on Map My Run. Once you get to the map, you might need to click on a control to show the satellite image of Bonaire instead of the default view of a big blank outline of the island. There is a really cool "fly over the route" feature that I highly recommend if you have a good Internet connection.

View Interactive Map on

There are a few short bits of pavement, but most of the route consists of bumpy dirt roads and even more bumpy donkey trails. And then there are the super bumpy parts that can't even be called trails, oh, and the nasty uphill climb that I can barely get up even without my bike.
Two person teams can have a go at the extremely rough, bumpy, challenging and tiring +/- 75 km long course. Fame, glory and even some cash prizes await those who make it to the end.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

More Milky Way Pix

Here is another image from my stargazing session the other week. The yellow star towards the upper right is Antares in the constellation Scorpius. This colorful area is worthy of a close-up shot some day. Yes, Sandra, I really need that 200mm lens. :)
There is a dark lane in the Milky Way that runs horizontally a little below the middle of the picture. If you look closely, you can see some red emission nebulae in the dark lane. I'm pleased that they are visible at all, because my stock camera is not sensitive to the almost infrared wavelength of these emissions. There is a thriving cottage industry that has grown up around modifying Canon cameras to make them more sensitive to the hydrogen-alpha emission wavelength.
In the second photo, I've drawn in the lines showing the Scorpion figure of Scorpius, as well as the Teapot figure often associated with Sagittarius.

Helping Hand

In this picture, we find Sandra wondering why the Wii Fit says she has suddenly gained 5 pounds!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

New Pelikaan School Facility

This past Wednesday, the Pelikaan School began its 2010-2011 school year in the former TWR activities building. The construction/renovation team did an amazing job getting the building ready in time and everyone seems very excited about this facility.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Moon and Planets

The Moon put in an appearance a little to the lower left of Mercury this evening. We were very fortunate to have cloud free skies tonight.By tomorrow evening, the moon will moved up to be a bit below Venus. That will look nice too.
The background stars in the picture are part of the constellation Virgo. Porrima is magnitude 2.9, Zaniah is mag 4.0 and Zavijava is mag 3.8.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Wider Angle Milky Way Image

While I was setting up my telescope and binocular mounts the other night, I fired off 100 six second long exposures of the Scorpius and Sagittarius Milky Way. I'm pleased that I was able to pick up some of the varied colors found in this part of the sky.I hope these shots encourage anyone with a DSLR and a tripod to get out there and try your hand at astrophotography. I just stuck the camera on a tripod and used a low cost eBay Chinese controller gizmo to fire off the exposures while I was busy with my other gear. I used a 24mm lens wide open at f2.8 and the ISO was at 1600. I cropped the pictures some because the stars were pretty ugly in the corners - probably a result of using the lens wide open.
This box shows approximately the section of the sky that appears in the astrophoto I posted a day or so ago.

Friday, August 06, 2010

New Late Night Spanish Programming

We've been broadcasting late night programming, in Creole, to the island of Haiti, since the big earthquake there last year. Now that the local Christian radio stations are back in full swing, we don't need to use the Bonaire transmitter to reach Haiti. So starting this past Monday night we've begun to transmit a new package of music and Spanish language programs from our RTM partners in the region.

Radio Trans Mundial is how Trans World Radio is known in the Spanish speaking world. You might have noticed that the sign Dionne was painting in a recent post read, "Radio Trans Mundial." We have similar signs in both English and Spanish outside our office here on Bonaire. Actually, our organization is not called Trans World Radio any more. The name of the organization is now simply, TWR. So I guess "RTM" is how you say "TWR" in Spanish, ha-ha-ha. Or as Sandra's international Facebook friends type it: "ja-ja-ja!"

In preparation for the new overnight Spanish language broadcasts, we've added hundreds of new Spanish language gospel songs to our computerized music library at the station. I guess you can say that we've got the world's largest Ipod here, except that the big hard drive array won't fit in your pocket. I can barely pick it up, actually.

Let me introduce you to just a few of the many great programs being produced by our TWR partners, located in 12 countries throughout Central America, the Caribbean and South America.

* Entre Jóvenes, produced in the Dominican Republic, is a magazine style program that provides professional insight into the feelings, fears and thoughts of young people. Topics cover such areas as friendship, dating, fun, sports, adventures drugs, employment, studies, parents and self identity.
* Produced in Cuba, Mensajes de Fe y Esperance is a daily five minute programs that discusses issues such as family life, interpersonal relationships, child rearing, superstitions, poverty and other concerns, while pointing listeners to faith and hope in Jesus Christ.
* A weekly conversational style program called Cosas de Nosotras, produced in the Dominican Republic, seeks to provide guidance and answers to the problems and challenges faced by Latin American women in their daily lives.
* Integración Familiar is a program designed to strengthen families across Latin America. Produced in the Dominican Republic by a team of professional counselors, this program brings a helping hand to families on a daily basis.
* Tierra Firme, a 30-minute weekly program produced by TWR-Uruguay, is providing a means for intellectuals in Latin America to be challenged by God’s Word. Christianity is presented as having the answer to all aspects of human life, including culture, the arts, literature and social problems.
* Radio Logos is a daily program that uses dramatic Bible reading and discussion to help listeners understand the meaning of the passage.
* Escuela Biblica RTM was developed by in Venezuela to provide systematic training to pastors and other church leaders. Written course materials and tests are available for those who desire to do more than simply audit the training sessions on the air.

We haven't been on the air straight through the night for quite a number of years now, but we used to have a large late night audience and I'm hoping and praying that listeners will quickly find us again. There are a bunch of other great RTM programs in our late night lineup as well. You can even hear some of them online sometimes, when the Venezuela and Uruguay offices have their streaming audio feeds running. You can learn more about RTM and find links to the various partner offices here.

Star Clouds and Dark Nebulas (Nebulae)

Nebula kind of sounds plural, if you have had a little too much education for your own good. So I had a friend back in the day who called a singular nebulous object a nebulon. But for some reason it is a nebula and the plural is nebulae. (neb-you-lee) You'll probably need to click on these pictures to make them large enough to see the details well. The image below is the full frame from my Canon 40D and 85mm lens. It is a combination of 10 two minute long exposures, working at ISO 1600 and f4.
The picture above shows the spout of the Sagitarius "teapot" asterism and a few well known deep sky objects. The large open cluster, M6, is down towards the lower right corner. M20, the Trifid nebula, is at the top edge a little to the right of the middle, and M8, the Lagoon Nebula is below it. M6 and M8 can be sometimes be spotted with the naked eye here on Bonaire. The next three pictures are crops of the above picture, working from top to bottom.
You can see the Lagoon nebula a bit to the right of the middle of the image and the triffid nebula near the top edge. The Triffid has some blue and red going on. Moving down to the lower left of the Lagoon nebula, you can spot the yellowish globular clusters NGC 6544 and 6533.

This is the middle part of the frame and really shows some of the dark nebulae in this part of the Milky Way. This area looks amazing in our 20x80 binoculars. The dark areas are caused by patches of interstellar dust that block the light from the background milky way stars. If you were to look at an infrared image of this area, you would be able to peer right through the dust and see all the stars.
Astronomers observe at all sorts of wavelengths, from radio waves to x-rays.

This is the bottom part of the main image and shows the open cluster M6 at the lower right corner. M6 even looks great in our 10x50 binoculars. The star at the top right corner of this image is the same star at the lower right corner of the middle image.

Planets Part 2

We are checking out the evening planets any time the sky is clear. Here is what they looked like Thursday night. You can compare these images with the pictures I posted the other day, to see how Venus and Mars are moving relative to Mercury and Saturn. You'll probably need to click on these small images to see the planets. And depending on how bright your monitor is compared to mine, you may or may not see some bushes along the horizon.

New Google Earth Images of Bonaire

Our friend, Dr. J, (no, not that Dr. J) noticed that there are some new satellite images on the Google Earth map of Bonaire. There is a new improved section at the south point, a new section way at the north in Washington Park, and a new clearer section right through the middle of the island.

The TWR offices are barely visible through a cloud, but you can see the (empty) site of the new IBCB church building at the coordinates 12deg. 10min. 11.oosec North longitude
and 68deg. 17min. 05.60sec West latitude.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Vacation with a Purpose

Texas teacher, Dionne Coppinger, just completed her annual summer pilgrimage to beautiful Bonaire. She got in some great windsurfing and cycling, and also lent a helping hand to some local ministries.Dionne spent a week with the APEM summer kids camp program here on Bonaire. She then zoomed over to Aruba and helped with a couple more summer programs for kids.
Upon returning to Bonaire, Dionne helped install tile at the new IBC church building, had a TexMex food fest for the TWR staff, and scraped and repainted one of the large signs at the TWR office.

Pelican School Progress

I shot this picture of the former TWR Activities building a week or two ago. They have been working like crazy getting the building ready for the new school year - even working well into the night.
You can see how they've doubled the size of the classroom on both sides of the main hall.
I haven't been inside yet, but those who have say it is fantastic. The teaching staff plan to get in to set up the classrooms this weekend and school should get underway next week.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

UPS fun

The UPS at the Transmitter site died last week. The power has been and still is pretty flaky out there, which probably didn't help it. So Joe and I spent the morning moving all the key circuits over to one of our two UPSs at the Studio/Office site so we could take the second office UPS out to the Transmitter site. Some stuff that used to be on UPS power isn't now, but all the key things like the computer servers and the automation room are still protected.

Here we see Benny and Joe loading the UPS unit onto the Dyna so they can take it to the TX site. Believe it or not, that small box weighs between three to four hundred pounds. Good thing they had that winch operated mini forklift with which to lift it.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Planetary Parade

Back on July 10, when our son and daughter in law were driving us to Newark Airport, in NJ. We looked out of our car window and saw Venus and the star Regulus real near each other. Regulus sets much earlier now. In fact it had set when I took these pictures shortly after 8pm today. But the planets are putting on a great show. A couple weeks ago, Saturn, Mars, Venus and Mercury were in a nice slanted line in the western sky. Now Mars has moved up right next to Saturn. You might need to click on the above picture to make it bigger in order to see the stars and planets. Mercury is just barely above the extreme lower right edge of the roof of the house. Venus is bright and is a little to the left of the middle of the picture. Mars and Saturn (left to right) are the pair of "stars' a little to the upper left of Venus.
Here is a closer picture of Mars and Saturn at the top and Venus at the bottom. The top picture was shot with a 24mm lens and I cropped it a little. The bottom picture was with an 85mm lens and is not cropped. Mars will be to the upper left of Saturn in a day or two. A week from now, on Aug. 9, Venus will be right about where Mars is now! You can see them move from night to night if you have clear skies. (we usually don't)