Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Salt, Salt, and More Salt

When I rode my bike around the south end of the island last Saturday morning, I saw that they were harvesting salt from one of the condenser pans right by the road. So Sandra and I drove back later and took some action photos.

You can click on the pictures to make them bigger.

The dozer and front end loader scoop up the salt at the corners of the pans.

These front end loaders are really BIG. I met one of them coming the other way on the road by Margate Bay and it totally used up the whole road. The driver kindly pulled off to one side so I could get by. I could have ridden my bike right up into that giant scoop on the front end.

All the salt used to be scooped up and loaded into trucks using front end loaders like the one pictured above. But now they are using a scraper/conveyor belt loader that seems to be much more efficient. The conveyor scrapes the salt off the pan like a Zamboni machine on steroids, and dumps it right into the bulk hauler truck.

Here is a close up of the scraper and loader. It has its own powerplant, but is towed by a bulldozer. It's pretty noisy.Posted by Hello

I have a few more salt harvesting pictures on my Club Photo site. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the thumbnails.

Sunday, September 19, 2004


Going to the circus was pretty much an annual event, while I was growing up in New Jersey. This is only the second time, in the 28 years I've been on Bonaire, that a circus has come here.

The Suarez Brothers circus, from Mexico, has been on Bonaire for the last week. We went last night and it was great fun. Sandra especially liked the trained dogs and the tigers. You could get your picture taken with a tiger at the close of the show. Posted by Hello

They set up the "big top" at the west end of the Stadium parking lot, across from the car wash.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Salt Spray Damage

The trees and bushes along the West shore got burned by salt spray when the wind reversed as Ivan passed North of us. If you look closely, you'll see that there are apparently a few types of bushes that don't mind the salt.

Riding along the tourist road was like riding through a tunnel of autumn leaves. Don't forget that you can click on these pictures to see them bigger.

The views along the road are still arresting, but in a different sort of way.

Fortunately, the waves must not have been too extreme, because there is still a lot of coral in the shallow waters that didn't get washed away. These pictures show some of the areas that we snorkeled in while cousin Bud was here during the summer.Posted by Hello

We've see the trees get burned like this in the past. Most of them bounce back after a while. The vegetation here on Bonaire is incredibly hearty.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Hotel Bonaire

The hotel across the street has been known by many names over the years. It has been sitting vacant for quite a while now. It appears that the red tape is about to be cleared because activity at the site is beginning.

The grounds of the hotel have been cleared off, so now the ruins are more visible.

The main entrance suffered a fire a number of years ago. Posted by Hello

We fully expect to see the present structure completely removed before anything new is built. So, for a short while at least, the TWR Bonaire studios will be on beachfront property!

Monday, September 13, 2004

Tech. Week on Bonaire

Last week Joe Barker visited us from the States, and Helmut Menzel came from Europe to do to some special technical projects. The week's activities culminated in a "sea voyage" where we measured the output of our antenna array's South pattern.

We drew an arc on the map with a radius of 11km, stretching from due East of our towers all the way to due West of them. We then plotted the Latitude and Longitude of points every three degrees along this arc and took signal strength readings with a special calibrated receiver called a field strength meter.

Our path took us from a couple kilometers off the coast of Bonaire at a point a little North of Lac Bay, to a point about a half a kilometer off shore right at Willemstoren, to points almost 11 km out to sea at the Western end of our arc.

We engages the services of Larry and his boat, which was built with the sea conditions of Bonaire's rough side in mind. Fortunately, it was pretty calm out there, for Bonaire, so we were able to get good signal strength readings. Here's a picture of Bob, with Larry at the helm and first mate, Mark, navigating from the GPS receiver.

Bob had a big tarp that we bungy corded over the top of the boat, to help keep the spray off of our equipment. Here we see Brad holding the all important field strength meter.

We were out on the water from about 8am to 2 pm. Here we find Helmut Menzel checking up on the all important food supply.

Rich must have read Luke 8:23 for devotions that morning.

Looking towards the southernmost point of Bonaire from the sea. Don't forget, you can click on any of these pictures to see them bigger. Posted by Hello

Those of you who know the windward side of Bonaire will note that it was pretty calm that day.

Friday, September 10, 2004

TWR 10 Pins

Here is a close up of the logo on our bowling shirts. Posted by Hello

Thursday, September 09, 2004

TWR Ten Pins

Even though hurricane Ivan was looming on the horizon, the TWR Ten Pins were back in action Tuesday evening. We did ok, but the other team did better. But we had fun and didn't hurt ourselves, always a consideration at our ages, heh-heh.

We bought matching t- shirts at the Chinese store and Sandra painted cool logos on them.

We sported our new matching shirts Tue. evening and it was just in time. Leonne snapped photos of all the teams and has posted them on her Bowling League website. We are the handsome team at the top left of the various team photos. I'll post a close up of the logo, some time soon.

Ivan puts Bonaire on the Map

Well, regular watchers of CNN and the Weather Channel now know where Bonaire is. We had to laugh at the announcers stumbling over Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao, as if they were places on some other planet. One time late Wed. we were reduced to "those islands there."

I was going to post Ivan updates all yesterday, but the blogspot website that I use to post these messages wasn't working. Bummer. I hope it is back up now, I'll find out when I go to post this.

For a while on Tuesday evening it looked like Ivan was headed right for us. By 5 am on Wednesday the NOAA was offering a glimmer of hope that it would go north a teeny bit. We are very thankful that it did indeed pass about a degree north of Bonaire. That was enough.

We had backwards winds and a medium amount of rain. The weather data from the Bonaire Webcams site is archived. The graphs for this week tell the story. No wind at all early Wed, and then a shift to the north and north west and rising wind speeds. The weather channel said the wind was 40 mph. The webcams reported less than that but may have been sheltered from that angle. The wind and rain certainly wasn't anything unusual for windy Bonaire, except for the fact that it was coming from the "wrong" direction.

We are very thankful that Ivan passed us to the North. Judging from what the storm did to Grenada, where they are accustomed to hurricanes, it would have been mind bogglingly devastating if Ivan had hit Bonaire directly.

So Bonaire's record of no hurricanes since the 1880s is intact. This was a close call though.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Ivan on Wed.

( This is a report that I did Wed. am that didn't post right away, so I did another on on Thursday. )

If you watch CNN or the Weather Channel, you'll find Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao mentioned; thanks to hurricane Ivan.

It looks like Ivan will pass by to the North of us, but we weren't so sure last night. The last major storm to hit here was in like the 1880's, so structures aren't constructed with hurricanes in mind.

We'll hole up in the heavy duty, double cement walled TWR studios if worst comes to worst, but we may escape with a lesser lashing. All the potted plants, porch furniture, and other easily movable objects are stashed away inside the shed or house.

The wind was totally still early this morning and then started to shift. It is really strange to see flags blowing the "wrong" way. Back before satellite images and the internet, when we didn't really know what was going on, I would have been out on my bike this morning, setting a new personal (wind assisted) best time for the ride back from Rincon!

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Conjunction Update

Here is what Saturn and Venus. (on the right) looked like this morning at 5:15. This is what I had expected to see yesterday. Posted by Hello

You'll need to click on this picture to make it large enough for you to see Castor and Pollux on the left and Saturn and Venus on the right.