Sunday, May 30, 2004

Nukove Revisited

On Saturday, we went up past the Bopec oil terminal to the little Nukove beach. We visited this area recently when my mom and dad were here, but we didn't go in the water.

Our Trupial friends were still there (see my post from April 10, 2004) and still looked at themselves in the side view mirrors of the car. They have a nest in a tree right where one parks. It's pretty cool.

Nukove Revisited

Nukove used to be a really beautiful snorkel, with acres of gorgeous shallow water coral beds. In 1999, hurricane Lenny reduced it to a desolate moonscape, BUT there are signs of rebirth. The corals are beginning to come back. Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Alternate Blog Address

I've noticed that there have been a couple of occasions this past week, when my normal
blog address hasn't worked.

If this happens to you, try this alternate address, which seems to always work.

College Hijinks

Our son, Richard, made it into his school newspaper. He is on the left side of the front row, wearing my vintage 1979 Cultimara/Avanti volleyball team warmup jacket from Bonaire. Having a girlfriend and not racing on the cycling team seems to have helped his academics. He got all A's and A-'s this last semester. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Kibrahacha tree photos posted

I've posted 21 photos of the flowering Kibrahacha trees on our Club Photo site. There are close ups and panoramas and everything in between.

You can click on the thumbnails to see the pictures bigger, and you can click on the bigger pictures to see the full size versions, which are 1024x768 in this case.
It looks like I got some killer Kibrahacha tree pictures yesterday. You can click on this one to see it bigger and probably sharper. I hope to put a bunch of them on my club photo site when I am home on lunch break today. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Ministry Trip to South America

I mentioned church leadership training in my last post. Another critical area that Trans World Radio has chosen to zero in on is women's ministry.

There is a team of women from TWR's Project Hanna ministry visiting Brazil and Bolivia this week. (through May 28) Please join in praying for a safe and effective trip.

By the way, three other areas of ministry focus have been identified by TWR, in addition to Leadership Training and Women's Ministry. Sandra's dad has been and still is very involved in one of these areas so I'll see if I can't highlight each of them as time goes by.

Bible School Trans World Radio

Some of you may be familiar with Trans World Radio's initiative to train house church leaders in China by means of the "Seminary on the Air" broadcasts and study materials. You can go here to see the Chinese language web site associated with this outreach. You'll probably have to load a language pack from Microsoft to display the characters. I didn't bother since I still wouldn't be able to read it. :)

Leadership training is actually needed in many parts of the world. Our ministry partners in Latin America report an "explosion of small churches" and a critical shortage of trained "Biblically Literate" pastors.

Our Trans World Radio - Venezuela partner has developed a "Bible School Trans World Radio" radio series as well as a training manual to assist these untrained church leaders.

Here is the cover of the manual, so you can see what "Bible School Trans World Radio" looks like in Spanish.

TWR is currently testing this curriculum with 70 church leaders in Venezuela. The goal is to roll this out across the whole of Latin America. Please pray for the team because scaling up this outreach from one country to the whole region will be a complex undertaking.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Kibrahachas are Blooming

The Kibrahacha trees on the hills to the East of our offices are blooming very nicely. A few to the north of us are blooming too, but most of these did their thing a couple weeks ago.
I'll try to get a picture or two tomorrow, before the flowers drop off. They only last a day or two, so one has to react quickly.

All-Natural Dog Chew Toys

Here is another shot of our coconut hound in action. Posted by Hello
This dog, who shall remain nameless, to help protect his ability to guard our house, likes coconuts. All the dogs like coconuts, but this guy can peal the husks off them and crack the shell of the nut inside, so as to get at the yummy coconut milk and meat.  Posted by Hello

Whoo Whoo, Photos in my Blog

Well it looks like I can now put photos right in my blog. I think you can click on them to see bigger versions of them. This photo is so that my mom and dad can see the nylabone wishbone dog chew that they brought with them when they visited us in March. It is in the lower right hand corner of the picture to the right of the arrow. Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Ladies Retreat a success

Our church had it's seventh annual Ladies Retreat this past weekend. It was held out at the Kunuku Roi Lamunchi. Berni Lusse was the "guest" speaker.

They had about 50 ladies on Friday and about 50 on Saturday as well. This retreat used to be for the ladies of our church and invited guests, but this year women from other churches were involved in the planning and ladies from seven were in attendance.

The ladies retreat, together with the TWR Project Hanna women's ministry, could prove to be rallying points for evangelical women on Bonaire.

Two Comets Spotted

There are still a lot of clouds floating about, but in between them, the sky is very clear tonight. I saw both comets Neat and Linear tonight, right were the charts say they should be.

I couldn't see any signs of a tail on either one of them, but I'm glad to have spotted them at all.

I haven't had a chance to see much of anything for quite a while, so this is a big improvement, even with the moon hanging around.
I'm pretty worried that there will be clouds around on the morning of June 8, when Venus goes across the face of the Sun. But I suppose a lot could change between now and then weatherwise.

Mini Rainy Season

We've had what Udo calls, a mini rainy season, the last few days. We even had a good bit of thunder and lightning Friday night.
It looks like it's trying to clear up today though.
It has been pretty windless, hot, and muggy.
I think I see signs that the Kibrahacha trees are about to pop. Some of the ones up north did a couple weeks ago but not the ones here in the middle of the island.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Washington Park by Bike 2

I rode the main Washington Park loop on my mtn. bike again on Saturday morning. It was sunnier than the previous week but windier too, so the net effect was similar.

I had two full Camelbaks for drinking, two packs of granola bars for munching, a water bottle for spraying on my head to keep cool in the hills, and a water bottle full of flat coke for a sugar and caffeine boost. I normally don't drink any stuff with caffeine in it, so even one bottle of coke or an energy gel packet with caffeine gives me a noticeable boost. :-)

I wasn't near as worn out at the end of the 3+ hours this week as I was last week.

I'll have to bring along a camera some week. It will give me a good excuse to stop, heh-heh. This week I saw some flamingos, a big iguanna, and lots of dirt, rocks, and cactus.

40th Anniversary Mural finished

Ivan finished up the 40th anniversary mural on the front wall of the office wing last week. We've already received quite a few favorable comments on it.

Here is Ivan packing up his gear after a job well done, and another picture from slightly farther away.

I have a couple more pictures of the mural here. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the thumbnails etc. Some pix are 1024x768 for windows wallpaper etc.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

International Space Station to Eclipse Jupiter Thur. night

If you live along a narrow swath that stretches from Alabama to Maine, you might get to see the international space station go right in front of Jupiter between 9:30 and 9:39 on Thursday (May 13)night.

If you live anywhere on the East coast, you will probably enjoy looking at the space station go by, even if it just goes near Jupiter, instead of in front of it.

Here is a NASA page that tells all about it.

Also on that page are a couple great images of the ISS taken by people with telescopes in their back yard. This is something I am definitely going to try to do this summer, while I am babysitting the Thorp's 8" Celestron telescope.

Golf Course II

There was a little interest in my recent mention of a golf course on the east coast out South of Washi Kimba.

As far as I know, it is a real 18 hole golf course, but unlike any you have probably ever seen. I'll try to get some photos next time I ride out that way.

This week's Port Call newspaper had an ad for an upcoming golf event. These people do seem to really love the game, but Papiamentu speakers will quickly be able to tell that they aren't making any wild claims for the quality of their golf course.

I haven't been able to find a higher quality version of it their logo yet. This ad suffers from low resolution, heavy compression, and some lack of color registration during printing. But I like the logo and their initiative.

Blast from the Past

As you have probably realized by now, TWR Bonaire will be celebrating 40 years of broadcasting this August. This is a good thing in that it has inspired a number of projects.

I've posted pictures of building repairs and painting, and the anniversary mural, which Ivan just finished.

As time allows, I've been dubbing our old archival audio tapes into the computer and making CD's. Up until now, time has never allowed, but I'm making some headway this spring.

Berni Lusse is spending some time going through our archive of old photos from years gone by. The thought is to make some big wall displays, possibly arranged by decade.

There has also been some talk about posting some of these images on our website. That may or may not happen, but in a blatant attempt to increase traffic, I'm also thinking of posting some of the images here.

To whet your appetite, here's one of someone near and dear to the TWR Alumni online community.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

40th Anniversary Update

The dates for our celebration of 40 years of broadcasting from Bonaire seem to have firmed up on the 20th through the 22nd of August.

It turns out that TWR Bonaire is not the only one celebrating a 40th anniversary this year. To discover our anniversary twin, click here.

more Bonaire from space

I'm still trying to find the source for the cool picture of Bonaire from space that I posted a week or two ago. I haven't found it yet, but did find some other cool photos that astronauts have taken.

These images are all courtesy of Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center, and can be found online here. NASA has all sorts of fun stuff online.

Here is a picture of the whole of Bonaire. It isn't that big and image, but it is nice and clear.

Here is a great one showing from left to right, the islands of Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire, all sitting just north of the coast of Venezuela.

This one shows Curacao, Bonaire and Venezuela. Once, when Richard and I were on top of Brandaris, the highest point on Bonaire, we were able to look just to the left of Curacao and see the landmass of South America. It was sort of an eerie feeling.
The other cool thing about this photo is that to the right (east)of Bonaire, I think you can see the Aves and Roques islands.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Weekend Fun II

I finally got around to doing a bike ride in Washington Park this past Saturday. It was a lot of fun, but a real workout. I think the heat is the worst part. It gets toasty back in the hills in the middle of the park, and some of them are steep too. Fortunately, it was pretty cloudy and windy that day.

The commute to and from the park takes more or less 45 minutes each way (at a commuting pace) and is around 17 miles in total. The loop I took through the park was around 18.5 miles and took an hour and 45 minutes. So I was riding for about 3:15 in all.

They are doing lots of work on the roads in the park right now, which is good, since some places are just about 4WD only. The really bad section is between Playa Funchi and Slac Bai. I was going down the hills just about as slowly as I was going up them. It was pretty much riding from exposed rock to exposed rock, with my butt hanging back off the saddle so as not to pitch over the front wheel. Needless to say, it was lots of fun, and probably more comfortable than it was for Richard and Nancy in the back seat of our rock hard suspensioned Samurai back in Jan. We were in 4WD low range crawling through those sections, and almost bucked Nancy right out of the car at one point. Fortunately Richard grabbed her and held on, like he needs an excuse to do that, ha-ha.

I'll probably ride the park more on Saturdays, until it gets just plain old too hot. The park opens at 8 am. and I got to Slac Bai around 9. Now I'm usually finishing up my long Saturday road bike rides by 9 am, to avoid the sun etc.

The trip back to the entrance took until 9:45, and then I had 45 more min. 'till I got home. I had two Camelbacks full of water with me and was glad to have them, despite the weight at the start.

It will be interesting to see how quickly one can do the basic park loop once all the roads are fixed up. As the weather heats up this month, I'll probably begin driving to the park entrance and riding the bike from there, so as to avoid the trek home in the hot sun. I'll probably bring a waterbottle full of water to spash on my head too. The bottle I had on the bike on Sat. had Gatorade and there was no way I was going to pour that on the old noggin.

Weekend Fun

Mighty Mouse wasn't the only one who was active this past weekend.

We've been going out each clear evening to keep tabs on our Comet buddy. It has been climbing rapidly (for a comet) to the northeast and is much easier to spot now.

I saw it as late as 9-9:30 pm, after an Elder's meeting, on Thursday. It looked a lot better around 8 pm last night. It was a little south of the bright star, Procyon, last night. It will still be near Procyon tonight, maybe more East than South though. The comet is fairly easy to spot, if you know where to look, but it isn't going to jump out of the sky with only a casual glance, at least not in our Bonaire skies.

In binoculars, there seems to be a nice wispy tail pointing sort of East.

Mouse in the House II

The rodent we've christened "Mighty Mouse" continues his nocturnal mischief. Saturday evening, he ate through the cord on Maggie Fuller's trackball, flipped over the device and stole the trackball ball! We have yet to find the ball from her trackball. I've had Stewart Little-ish visions of this guy pushing the ball down the hall with his nose.

We set a couple mouse traps Sunday afternoon, baited with yummy Gouda cheese. The trap in Sandra's office is untouched, but the one in Maggies office has been sprung and the cheese eaten. A sticky type mouse trap that Rich Fuller put in the office was flipped over and the bait devoured.

We are beginning to suspect a rat.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Bonaire from Space AND Map Talk

I'm always on the lookout for cool images of Bonaire from Space. Here is one that shows where I was on my mountain bike last week. I marked a few points of interest on the right side of the picture.
On the left side you can see the two town piers and the soccer stadium pretty easily.
There are some clouds right around where the TWR studios and Activities Building are located, so identification there is kind of iffy.

If you want to see the fine details that are visible on this image, you will probably need to go to my club photo page , click on the thumbnail and then click again on the small image, which will get you the full size image.

For the life of me, I can't remember where I found this picture. There are a few other amazing shots too. I'll have to snoop around online sometime and see if I can find the site, so I can post a link to it. They sell big full resolutions prints of their images for about $40 as I recall. Some of them might just be worth it.

After I go on an exploring Bonaire excursion, I also like pulling out my set of large scale survey maps to try to check up on exactly where I was and what I saw. A number of years ago, Sandra and Sue Felix were able to bag a set of these rare and expensive maps while on a trip to Curacao. Sue had to sweet talk the officials into even selling the maps to them. It helped that Sue is a key player in training tour guides on Bonaire etc.

Imagine my surprise a couple years ago, when an engineer with Intelsat showed up on Bonaire with one of these map pages. He told me he got it on the Internet, and sure enough, when I went to the site, the maps were for sale there. They were just as expensive as ever, but available, (as color copies perhaps.) There are also black and white full size copies of the out of print 1971 version maps for sale at a much reduced price.
Here is where to get your maps.

Project Progress

Ivan is working on the new 40th anniversary mural

and Rich West is fabricating a heavy duty front bumper for the TWR Suzuki Samurai work beast vehicle. Rich has found that the auto shop vehicle lift also makes a great work bench for his projects.

Mouse in the House

It looks like we've got a mouse or two in the studio building. The snowman candle on my office windowsill has been chewed, Sandra sees mouse doo doo in her office and ..... when I went to sub-1 to see why I couldn't connect to one of the computers over our network, I found a chewed network cable. Hopefully I'll be able to post a picture of a dead mouse soon, heh-heh.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Holiday Weekend bike rides

I got in some good mtn. bike rides over the weekend. I rode out to Lagoen on dirt roads, crossed over the salt flats to the Washi Kimba side and headed south along the big flat shoreside plateau area.

The "rock collectors" have been busy piling up all the coral rocks and boulders to take to the rock crushers. (that's where all the gravel for the concrete used in construction comes from here on Bonaire) So the shoreside plateau looks like a giant white sandy smooth billiard table, instead of its more brownish and greyish original colors.

The waves were crashing up against the shore quite nicely. (washed the salt spray off the bike when I got home)

I fixed a flat tire at Washi Kimba on Sat. and headed onward. I turned around for home at Punto Blanku, when rain clouds attacked from the southeast.

The next day, I was able to continue south along the shore until I got to a big rock wall and gate etc. There is a golf course of sorts past the gate. It is pretty rough (understatement) with lots of rocks and sand and the occasional mossy area. I may see if I can get permission to continue riding south through the golf course. Years ago I rode along the shore all the way to Lac Bay.

There are zillions of dirt roads criss crossing the countryside between the shore and the beginnings of civilization - Amboina and Nikiboko in this case. I've probably been on every last one of them over the years, but only on the main roads lately. So I zoomed up and down and across and back to check them out. There a good number of nice big luxurious Kunuku homes out there now.

Riding home to Hato was all pretty much down wind, hooray hooray.

Monday morning before work found me replacing two broken spokes in my back wheel. It is rideable now, but I think I'll take the time to re-tension the whole thing, because it was in pretty sad shape. If I go on an after work bike ride today, it will have to be on the road bike.

2 out of 3 Comets seen

I saw Comet Neat on Friday evening. It is climbing rapidly to the north east and should be easier to see each evening. It was just barely visible to the naked eye, and looked like a round fuzzy ball in the binoculars. It looked bigger than Comet Linear in the binoculars.

It is still very cloudy and hazy at sunrise and sunset each day here, so I haven't seen Comet Linear again and haven't had a chance to look for Comet Bradfield. I've read that Bradfield is fading quickly, so I may not get to see it at all.

Monkey on the loose in Hato

Our dogs were barking a lot on Saturday evening and on Sunday we found out why. A monkey had escaped and was wandering around the neighborhood. It ended up at the West house (ex McElhaney, ex Britton house etc).

The vet came and used a mini blowgun to stick the monkey with a tranquilizer dart. Amado Felix helped the vet wrap the monkey in a cloth and put it in a dog carrier for the ride home. The monkey woke up quickly. The owners weren't there so the vet and Amado braved the five dogs in the yard and got the monkey back in its cage. Then one of the dogs hopped in the cage too, so they had to remove the dog while the monkey freaked out. It must have been pretty crazy.

Rich West took some photos. Here is a picture of the monkey on the West's car. It wouldn't let anyone approach too near, so they had to resort to the tranq. dart.

Here the vet prepares the tranquilizer while Amado Felix looks on. The dog carrier can be seen in the background.