Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year

The new year comes in with a bang here on Bonaire. Many businesses fire off huge firecracker strings at the end of their business day. It's a major social event and one can follow the fire truck, police, and Selibon street sweeper from location to location. You quickly learn to stay upwind because the gunpowder smoke gets really thick.

The hot setup is to carry the crate on a forklift and lay out the firecracker chain. This is in front of the Napa store. Kooyman used a forklift too.

You can click on the pictures to see them bigger.

These guys lit the end with a cigarette, and when the fireworks ignited, they went off with a vengance!

The Napa fireworks lasted about five minutes and the Kooyman ones about seven and a half to eight minutes.

The smoke had barely cleared and the Selebon street sweeper was in action.
Tene Boneiru Limpi! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Mosquitos, the Beehive, and Saturn

The rainy season has produced a bumper crop of mosquitos, so you have to be brave and covered up when you venture outside to look at the stars.

It is still a little cloudy, but the stars are really nice in between the clouds, because the air is clean and dust free.

I put my vintage 1986 Minolta zoom lens on the camera and mounted it piggy back on my little telescope. The scopes motors tracked the stars while I made some 30 second exposures. I think my camera weighs as much or more than the telescope, so it didn't track perfectly. But a couple pictures came out nice enough to have me excited about the possibilities when I get more practice in.

This picture shows the beehive cluster and Saturn. You can pretty easily see them with your naked eye, if you are in a rural area and know where to look, but you'll need binoculars to see it this well. I shot this around 11 pm, Bonaire time, which is about 10 pm Eastern time. I was looking East and it was maybe 45 degrees up from the horizon. It will probably be different if you live to the north of Bonaire, but Saturn is pretty bright, so you should be able to find it if you look East. Post a comment if you see Saturn and the Beehive.

You'll need to click on the picture to make it big enough to see anything

The faint lines outline the main four stars of the constellation Cancer. The beehive cluster, also known as M44, and the "Praesepe" is inside the box. Saturn is the bright object to the lower right of the box. Posted by Picasa

I did a Google search and found that the Beehive Cluster lies about 580 light-years away, and spans about 10 light-years across. Saturn is probably like about 73 light minutes away, but you can't really tell from looking at them. Of course, if you watch them from week to week, you'll see that Saturn's location is changing with respect to the stars.

This was shot for 30 seconds at ASA 800, with the zoom at about 135mm and f4. I didn't do much post processing to this picture except to resize it for the web.

I need to make a gizmo so I can let the camera ride piggyback on the big telescope. It won't mind the extra weight, and I'll be able to make corrections to the tracking too, to get nice pinpoint star images.

I'll be making an electric remote shutter release for the camera soon too. I need to find a couple switches to wire up to an old computer sound card to CD player cord and connector. Right now, I'm using the camera's self timer to make the exposure. It actually works pretty well, 'cause the mirror goes up when I push the shutter release button on the camera, and then two seconds later the camera opens the shutter to take the picture.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Starry Night

We're still having rain showers most mornings. That means that the sky is really clear and dust free... in between the clouds. The evenings are usually pretty cloudy, so it's not so good for stargazing, even though the stars look really great through the breaks in the clouds.

There weren't as many clouds this evening, so I ran out with my new camera, put it on a tripod and shot a 30 second exposure of Orion. You can see Orion right in the middle of the picture, and Lepus in the lower right corner. Some pesky clouds did come sneaking in. You can see one at the lower left corner of Orion. Posted by Picasa

You can click on the picture to see it bigger. January is usually a good month for clear blue skies, green flashes at sunset and starry nights. We'll see.....

Puzzle Fun

Sandra always makes a puzzle during the Christmas / New Year holidays. We shipped down three nice ones that my aunt gave us. They arrived on Friday, and Sandra got right to work on one of them.

Jon and Debbi Savage were able to stop by this afternoon and give Sandra a hand and they had the puzzle almost finished when they had to leave.

Sandra finished it off after supper. I bet she starts a new one during the New Years day weekend. Posted by Picasa

Click on the picture to see it bigger.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Warmest Christmas Wishes

Merry Christmas from Bonaire. We had a Christmas Eve service last night, with probably more visitors attending than church regulars. We closed with the usual candle light sing.

We had a staff get together on Friday. Here is a TWR Bonaire staff family photo.

You can click on the picture to see it bigger.

Friday, December 23, 2005

How Green is Bonaire

Well, Bonaire is really green these days, for Bonaire anyway. We don't get rain every day, but there is still enough to keep the weeds and bushes happy. This is what our back yard has looked like for most of the years we have lived here. It's a great doggie playground, but somewhat dusty when it gets windy.

Here is what the yard looks like now. We've started mowing the weeds as if they were grass. All this green will shrivel up and get brown or grey once the rains stop, but we're thinking that it will be less dusty because the roots will still be stablizing the soil. Posted by Picasa

You can click on the pictures to see them bigger.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Christmas is coming

One of the first things we did, when we got back to Boniare was to get lots of Christmas music playing on our FM station. We've accumulated quite a collection of Christmas carols and hymns over the years, in all sorts of styles

We set up our Christmas tree on Saturday... pulled it down out of the attic and put our furlough suitcases up.

Here is a shot from outside the house. The tree shines nicely through the front window. Posted by Picasa

You can click on the pictures to see them bigger.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Back on Bonaire

We returned to Bonaire on Dec. 6, whoo whoo! It has been rainy and windy, but Saturday and Sunday turned sunny and windy. It is cool for Bonaire, but still feels plenty warm to us right now.

While waiting for the American Eagle flight from San Juan to Bonaire, we were joined by three guys from Trans World Radio's headquarters in Cary, NC. They have been here this week doing computer upgrades and long term planning in a number of areas.

Mark, on the left, is TWR's head computer guru. Jeff, who used to work on Bonaire with us, is now at the headquarters in Cary and is responsible for the computers in the Americas region.

As always, you can click on the pictures to see them bigger.

Below we see, from left to right, Joe, Jeff, and Mark from the TWR Cary office, and Rich, our station director on Bonaire.

Here is one more shot of the guys slaving away in our computer server room. They were worried that the only pictures they had from their time on Bonaire were of fun in the sun type things. Posted by Picasa

Tower Painting Completed

Another year, another tower. We have four antenna towers connected to our 100kw AM transmitter. The plan is to paint one every year, and repeat...

Here is the happy crew of TWR staff and contracted local guys upon the safe completion of this year's tower painting project.

New Bonaire Pastor

The English language, International Bible Church of Bonaire, welcomed its first full time pastor while we were in the States this fall. Amazingly enough, we met people in the States who knew Pastor Toto Baran from his early days in his native Guyana, and others who knew him and his wife Felicia from his recent inner city ministry in Newark, New Jersey.

Here we see Pastor Baran, the church elders, and some Bonaire pastors at the Installation service.

Logos II Returns to Bonaire

The Operation Mobilization book exposition ship, Logos 2 paid a visit to Bonaire a couple weeks ago. We're sorry we missed it because we hear that it was a great time for one and all.

Anyone remember the whale that got impaled on the bow of a cruise ship a couple years ago? Well one of the high school teachers and a bunch of students restored and assembled the skeleton. Here are some of the Logos 2 advance team checking it out at the entrance to Washington Park. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Family Fun in NJ

Some have noticed that we have many more pictures of our dogs than of our son. This may be because our son has been away at college for the last five years, while the dogs are around, dare I say, underfoot, every day. Also the dogs don't say "daaaaaaa-aad" when I snap their picture.

We said goodby to Richard and Nancy on Saturday afternoon and drove to my parents' place in PA. We arrived in Lancaster before the snow started, hooray.
We plan to head back to Bonaire on Tuesday.

We had a fun "early Christmas" with Rich and Nan before hitting the road. Posted by Picasa