Monday, December 27, 2004

Queen Mary 2 is back today

I got close up pix of the QM2 last time it was in port. So today, Sandra and I went "mondi stomping" to get some panoramic shots of the ship and the Bonaire countryside.

As usual, you can click on the pictures to see them bigger.
Here is the view from the top of Seru Grandi, east of Antriol.

Here's one for the goat lovers.

Here's another one from part way up Seru Grandi.

QM2 as seen from just north of the Lagoen Road, opposite the Lagoen Villas residential area.

Same spot but from a lower angle. Posted by Hello

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from Bonaire. We had a short sweet Christmas Eve. Service last night and then came home and watched "Miracle on 34th Street" on the TV. I watched most of another Christmas classic, the one with the Red Ryder BB Gun, this morning before Sandra woke up.

Then it was potato pancakes with mashed potatoes left over from Thanksgiving. (yes they were in the freezer) and opening presents. Our son, Richard, will be transporting some presents for us when he comes on the 29th, but we managed to have some fun stuff for each other today.

I'm listening to a Reliant K cd that Sandra gave me as I write this. Very "snappy", to quote someone from another movie I like that Sandra doesn't...

It is a balmy 80 degrees with lots of sun and a slight breeze, perfect Christmas on Bonaire weather.

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Queen Mary II on Bonaire

The Queen Mary 2 visited Bonaire for the first time back on Dec. 12. It will be back on Dec. 27. I'm hoping to get a cool picture from up on Sero Largu, 'cause I saw one taken by someone else and said to myself, "why didn't I think of that?"

Here's a shot of the waterfront, sort of in the area where Sandra used to live when she was a kid. You can click on these pictures to see them bigger, 800x600 in this case.

It looks peacefull, but downtown was a hive of activity with zillions of passengers wandering around and locals coming to ogle the ships. We fit right in.

Sandra checks out the view from just north of the Flamingo Beach hotel. These are familiar sailing, snorkeling, and diving grounds for us, so it is cool to see such big ships parked here. Posted by Hello

Thursday, December 23, 2004

We're back online.

We got our Flamingo TV internet connection back at our house yesterday afternoon, after being down for almost two weeks. We'll celebrate by posting a bunch of pictures.

Here is another shot of the hotel site across the street from TWR. We are enjoying the view.

Looking east across the stink pond towards Antriol. If you click on the picture to make it bigger, you might be able to spot the flamingos. Posted by Hello

Activities Building

Here's what the TWR Activities Building is looking like these days. Our church meets there on Sundays. AWANA meets there, as do our monthly socials for the medical school students.

Since there are only a few us still here with TWR, the facilities have been made available to some others too. The Bonaire Youth Outreach Foundation meets here on Saturday evenings. A couple other local churches also use the outside area for game nights. Posted by Hello

That's Playa Trading, a big hardware and building materials supplier, in the background. Kaya Amsterdam, the road in the picture, pretty much has continuous buildings the length of the street. When I first came to Bonaire, TWR and Cambes were just about the only things there. In fact, the first time I crossed the street from the offices to the Act. Building, I thought that Kaya Amsterdam was a driveway!

Satellite Dish Project

Here is Ivan Statia with one of the handy dandy antenna kits.

Getting ready to raise one of the pedestals.

Many hands make light work.

Bruce came from the antenna contractor in California to install the hardware. Paul, an engineer from Intelsat was here again too. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

New Short Wave Transmitter in Brazil

The three hours of Portuguese language programming that we air from Bonaire each day comes from a 24 hour a day satellite feed produced by our TWR partner in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Many local stations in Brazil also pick up and rebroadcast these programs.

Although we no longer broadcast on the short wave radio bands from Bonaire. Our TWR partner in Brazil has been broadcasting on two 10,000 watt transmitters. On Nov. 21, they commissioned a new 50,000 watt transmitter so they can reach more of that large country. You can read more about it here.

One cool side story is that the site manager and engineer for the RTM (Radio TrĂ¡ns Mundial) short wave installation found the Lord as a result of listening to programs broadcast from Bonaire! You can read this inspiring story here.

If you'd like to brush up on your Portuguese, visit the TWR - Brazil web site.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Geminid Meteors

Whoo whoo, we went out last night at 10:30 pm to have a look at the comet, and saw lots of bright meteors.

We went to the Andrea 2 dive site to get away from the lights around our house. The comet was pretty easy to spot with the naked eye, but didn't seem to have a tail, even in binoculars.

The meteors were fantastic; pretty frequent, with many slow bright ones. If all meteor showers were this good, I'd surely go out and view them more often. This shower peaked last night, so we were out at the optimum time.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Monday Musings

Our internet access at home has been down since Thursday afternoon. It's amazing how much we've come to depend on it, having had it for less than a year at this point. I've got some pictures to post, but that will have to wait 'till we get connected again - I haven't put the software that lets me upload pix on my computer at work.

We've seen the comet a couple more times. The skies are really clear and dark, in between the clouds, 'cause the rain has washed all the dust out of the air. The comet it just about exactly where the finder chart (the second more detailed one) says it should be.

A bunch of us did a group ride in Washington Park on Saturday morning. It is nice and cool for bike riding, compared to the summer months anyway. The dirt roads in the park are a real mess because of the crazy rainy season we've had. I think my 1.5 hour personal best for riding through the park is safe for a while. Riding fast would be very difficult right now. Survival is the order of the day - which on a mtn. bike, is a lot of fun in it's own right.

I had a blast. I was the only one who rode out from Slac Bai, and got out just ahead of the mind bogglingly torrential rains that hit. The others in a F-150 pickup weren't sure if they were going to make it. The rushing waters were such that they couldn't identify where the road was in places.
I only got lightly rained on, which served to keep me from overheating in the roller coaster hills on the way out. The town of Rincon got hammered too. When I rode through Rincon, there were still fast moving rivers crossing some of the roads - like 3 to 6 inches deep rushing muddy water.

Because of the rain, the dirt road shortcut from Rincon to home would have been really a mess, so I rode back on the paved East road. It was quite a bit farther to ride, but at least I knew I would eventually get home in one piece. I've had the wheels and frame get so clogged up with mud on that other road that it stopped me cold. No pix of this bike ride, you had to be there....

We had not one, but two cruise ships in port on Sunday. One of them was the Queen Mary 2. That thing is HUGE. It seemed like everyone on Bonaire was there to see it. Of course that was only about four times the number of people who arrived on the ship. I'll post some pix when I can.

I've got some pix of our two new bird baths, I mean satellite dishes, too.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Comet Machholz spotted

2004 has sure been a banner year for bright comets. Last night, after coming back home from a food and fun night that our church held for students at the two medical schools here on Bonaire; Sandra and I observed what may be our fifth comet of the year.

Of course "bright" is a relative term. We could barely detect comet Machholz with our naked eye, after finding out exactly where to look using binoculars. But any comet that we can see with our naked eye is pretty cool.

The comet will be well placed during the whole holiday season, but this week is especially good for comet hunting because there is no pesky moon in the evening sky. (I saw the skinny crescent moon a little above Venus at 6 this morning.)

There is basic info about the comet and a finder chart on sky and telescope's web site. There is a very good, more detailed finder chart here. The good news is that the comet is only a little south west of Orion, a very prominent constellation. If you can find Orion, you should be able to use the detailed chart along with your binoculars, to "star hop" your way to the comet. Wow, all those connect the dots books that I did as a kid were preparing me to be an astronomer!

Let me know if you see it.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Going... Going... Gone

This is the machine that has been dismantling the old hotel, across the street from the TWR studios. That claw thing on the end can go up and down and left and right, but most importantly, can also spin. When it grabs a piece of wall and spins/twists the wall pops right off!

You can click on the pictures to see them bigger.

Here's a view of the demolition progress as seen from our old office wing, which is now a school. The machine just crawls along munching on the structure like a giant locust. Lots of people have been stopping by to witness a Bonaire institution disappear.

If I were still located in my old office, which had a window, I'd have a first class view now. Our offices are now in the double walled, soundproofed, windowless studio building.

Once I'm installed in front of my computer workstation, I don't know if its sunny or stormy, day or night.

But believe it or not, one day recently, it rained so hard that I actually did hear it from my office, in what used to be the music library when I first came to Bonaire in the mid 70s.

Here is the view from the studio side, with the new airconditioning condenser in the foreground and our green "Frog" in the parking lot.

This site would make a great park. The view, looking across to Klein Bonaire is most excellent. The beach itself got hammered by hurricane Lenny, a few years ago, but could be easily cleaned up.Posted by Hello

Thursday, December 02, 2004

More than 190 Languages

Continuing to expand the scope of its international outreach, Trans World Radio has surpassed 190 languages and dialects aired across the globe. In the last decade alone, TWR has added more than 90 languages and dialects to its broadcast schedule. You can find a list of all the languages here.

Recent additions to the airwaves include the following for the Northern Caucasus region of Russia: Avar, Kumyk, Dargwa, Lak, Lezgi, Tabasaran and Chechen.

Also new are Papiamentu (Bonaire); Pulaar (West Africa); and Uyghur (China).

“Expanding the number of languages TWR airs undoubtedly broadens our opportunity to reach even more people with the good news of Jesus Christ,” says TWR President Dr. David Tucker. “What’s more, by adding broadcasts into hard-to-reach areas like the Northern Caucasus region and China, we can deliver the gospel to people who might not otherwise have access to it.”

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Friendly Flamingos

There have been a half dozen or so flamingos nosing about in the "stink pond" behind the TWR studios. Usually one has to travel to the far flung reaches of Bonaire to see these shy birds.

Speaking of far flung reaches, I was riding my bike up north on Thanksgiving day and had to turn around at Gotto Lake. The lake had completely inundated the road, due to all the rain we've been having. Posted by Hello

Click on the photo to make it and the flamingo slightly bigger. :)

Cruise Ships

It's cruise ship season again here on Bonaire. There were two in on Monday. They still tend to dominate the skyline, here seen from the TWR studios.
Click on the picture to make it bigger so you can see the ships. Posted by Hello

The two ships in port on Monday were the Oceana with 1950 passengers, and the Veendam, with 1255 passengers.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Sunday and Monday were pretty sunny, but the rains came back on Tuesday and Wednesday morning too. Here is a look at the hotel across the street from our studios. We may have a really nice view of the Caribbean and Klein Bonaire soon. Posted by Hello

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Sunshine Returns to Bonaire

It only rained a little bit on Sat. and Sun. mornings. We had a nice breeze and some sunshine too. I got in a 40 mi. bike ride Sat. am and we did a load of wash that actually was dry by the afternoon, and the flooding is receding slightly in some areas.

Here are two pictures by Bob Thorp showing the water at the Transmitter site. The parking lot is in the foreground and a security guard is walking along the access road in the middle. The original MW feedline used to parallel this road. One can also see a ship at the salt company pier in the background.

Close up shot of the access road at the TX site. When I rode by on my bike Sat. am, the water level had gone down noticeably. Click on the pix to see them bigger. Posted by Hello

If you have a fast internet connection, here is a link to a 10 meg. file that is a great movie showing the rushing water flowing down the streets and through the yards in the Sabadeco neighborhoods. You can also find some amazing underwater videos on the blennylips site. Berni Lusse appears in most of the videos if you watch closely.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Rain Rain Go Away

The antenna fields are under water at the transmitter site, but the building itself is still dry - barely.

The front parking lot is under water, though, which means that the water at the site is quite a bit deeper than it was when I posted pictures during last year's rainy season.Posted by Hello

You can click on the picture to make it bigger.
This picture was taken by Rich West on Thursday. It rained hard on the south end last night, so Rich has headed out on Fri. to see how it looks.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Rainy Bonaire Recap

Officially, we had about 3.5 inches of rain at the airport yesterday, but some people measured up to seven inches in their neighborhoods. The "word on the street" is that was is the highest daily rainfall in 60 years.

Here are the summary charts for yesterday.

We've had about .9 inches of rain today (thur) as of noon. This is more "normal" for this year's rainy season.

It's nice and cool out too. It is hard to believe that it was only a few weeks ago that we were melting in the windless heat.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Rainy Bonaire

So far this month, we've gotten five and three quarter inches of rain. That's a lot when you consider that the annual rainfall is something like 20 inches.

A giant crop of mushrooms has just sprouted in our yard, and of course, the weeds are growing quite nicely. I'll have to post another picture of Rich West mowing the TWR property with our Sears garden tractor, like I did last winter.

Our dogs are spending a lot of time in indoors, where it is dry. They think that is great, sneeze sneeze.....wheeze wheeze.

Here is a link to the weather info for today. You can navigate to weekly weather and monthly weather too. In fact, you can check out the weather for just about anywhere on this site.

Pads Poured

The rains held off just long enough for the guys to pump out the holes and pour the foundations for the two new dishes. It's been pouring rain every day.... including right now as I write this at 07:30 on Wed. Posted by Hello

Friday, November 12, 2004

What's Wrong with this Picture II

Here is another quiz. What is wrong with this picture.

Hint - it is the same thing that was wrong with the picture that I posted a couple weeks ago. There is another hint a couple postings down in my blogs from today.

You may need to click on the picture to make it bigger before you can see what is wrong. Posted by Hello

MKs visit Bonaire

We were lucky to have two different MKs (missionary kids) revisit their old stomping grounds this week.

Mark Kellner and his wife, Sue, are having a great time on Bonaire celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. I left my camera at home that day, so I don't have any pictures, but I can tell you that they don't look old enough to be celebrating a 25th anniversary. Mark hadn't been to Bonaire since his family left back in 1973.

Sarah Early is spending a week on Aruba with her friend Rebecca and her family. They flew over to Bonaire for a day.
Sarah, on the left, with Renata, at the office.

Rebecca and Sarah, with Sandra and members of the Swanson four legged, eco-friendly home security system. Posted by Hello

Satellite Dish Update

Heavy rains prevented our guys from pouring the foundations for the two new satellite dishes. They've pumped out the holes and are now waiting for the ground to firm up a bit.

Here is another picture of our antenna farm, and the preparations for the two new 4.6 meter dishes. Posted by Hello

Den Laman Update

The hotel and dive center that is being built on the site of the old Den Laman restaurant is coming along nicely. That's the famous Bonaire traffic circle in the foreground. Posted by Hello

Wild Weather on Bonaire

We continue to have wild and rainy weather here on Bonaire. We had a major thunder storm and wind reversal at noon on Tuesday. The power was out all afternoon. Both our internet connections at the office were out too. The Telbo one is still out because the Telbo relay tower about 50 yards from our house took a direct hit. The storm had been sort of dying down and then all of a sudden, BLAAM. It was loud and bright. I don't think we need to worry about our house getting hit, with that nice tall lightning rod right near by.

We've had rain early every morning, so I'm biking in the evening after work. I still get wet sometimes, but at least it's warm water.

Check out these plots from the weather station at the Bonaire Web Cams. The rainfall rates and the wind direction graphs will tell the story. They will also help you answer the "what's wrong with this picture" quiz. Click on the picture to make it bigger.Posted by Hello

There is lots of standing water all over the place. The mosquitos are out in force and the little Bonairian mud puddle frogs are roaring up a storm each night.