Sunday, October 29, 2006

Regional Happenings

Our Bonaire radio station is not the only Trans World Radio initiative in the Americas Region. TWR works with partner organizations in 12 countries in this hemisphere. One of these is Radio Trans Mundial (RTM) in the Dominican Republic. Among many other things, our partners in the DR office produces some of the radio programming that we broadcast from Bonaire.

Marli Spieker, the founder of Project Hanna, a multifaceted ministry to women, visited the DR this year. She and her team spent some time with a ministry in one of the poorest sections of Santo Domingo. The pastor, pictured here with his family and with Marli, left his job at a bank, to live and minister full time to women and kids who were pretty much without hope.

One goal is to help the children, especially the girls, have a chance for a better life than the one their mom's are trapped in.

Marli and her team members also participated in a retreat that was attended by about 300 middle class ladies. (and many of their children)

Here we see, Georgina, the director of RTM in the Dominican Republic, along with two Project Hanna volunteers from the States. The women at the retreat really enjoyed talking with Georgina in person, after having heard her on the radio for years. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Boats Boats and More Boats

October is International Sailing Regatta month on Bonaire. On Monday, the yachts always sail around the whole island. Sometimes they sail quite close to the shore, which makes for great photo opportunities. Here are some of the views from Pink Beach, Red Slave, and the Lighthouse. If you go out to Malmok in Washington Park, you can see them sail by with their spinnakers set, but I didn't venture out there this year.

I have this picture with and without the kid looking at me. For some reason, I like the one with the kid.

Sandra was scrounging for driftwood when the Chamba II and the D�marrage sailed by. These two boats have been fixtures at the annual Bonaire Regatta for as long as I can remember.

I took a bunch of pictures from the ruins by the lighthouse. Here's one. Posted by Picasa

Pelican Pictures

There are quite a few pelicans on Bonaire these days. This pair doesn't seem to be that interested in the around-Bonaire sailing race.

Here's a closer look at the pelicans, the wonderful Bonairian smooth coral beach, and the inviting water.

This rooftop pelican seems to be sizing me up! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Rover's Revenge

We just sold our green Maruti Suzuki, known alternately as the Green Bean, the Frog, and the Dogmobile, to make room for the buggy. See the buggy post below.

Last night, one or more of the dogs (they aren't saying who it was) let us know what they think about this, by leaving us a little surprise that I discovered this morning.

You can test your understanding of "dog speak" by studying this picture.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Wax On - Wax Off

Shades of "The Karate Kid"

We enjoyed our dune buggy here on Bonaire back in the late 70's early 80's, so when this one became available, we snapped it up. It seems to run well, but has a slight faded paint problem, ha-ha, so I've been slaving away on it with rubbing compound.

It isn't as cool as our Myers Manx was, but it does have newer model VW parts, and it's loads of fun to toot around Bonaire in. I do like the "Bug Eyed Sprite" look front end.

Our car loving friend, Ted Rork, believes that all cars should have a name. We'll be selling our green Maruti/Suzuki known as "the Frog", or "the Green Bean." Feel free to use the comments feature to suggest suitable names for this new buggy.

Below is our son, Richard, in the original Swanson Buggy, back in the early 80's. Posted by Picasa

Rain Rain Go Away

The wind reversal - weird weather thing that began back on Friday-the-13th seems to have ended.

Yesterday afternoon I noticed some fitful breezes coming from the Right Direction. Today the wind is up to a mighty 6 mph or so, and the ground is beginning to dry out a little.

The hardy vegitation here on Bonaire is getting really green. It is amazing how quickly things burst into life when the rains come.

We did have some heavy rains a couple nights, that flooded low lying areas etc. The puppy loved splashing around in Lake Swanson in our back yard.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Plane Panoramas

I've stitched together a couple panoramas from pictures I took on last Saturday's Cessna ride with Ernie Franke.

In the top picture we are looking back towards the west from a spot over lac bay. You can see the TWR towers in the distance towards the left side, and then Belnem, the airport, Kralendijk, Hato, the oil terminal etc. as you look from left to right.
If you want to see all the available detail, follow this link to the full size image. It is about 700 pixels tall and very wide. If you set up your web browser to not resize the images, you can scroll back and forth on a full screen height view.

The other picture shows Red Slave and the South corner of bonaire. It is similar to, but wider than, a picture I posted a while back. Click here to get the full size image that you can scroll back and forth on. You might just be able to get a glimpse of the new radar tower that is going up on the shore, at the extreme right side of the picture.

Blast from the Past

I've enjoyed flying around Bonaire with TWR missionary, Ernie Franke. I was rummaging through some old photos in the office and a number of aerial photos from April 1973 caught my eye.

I seem to recall that the Habitat just celebrated a major anniversary. Here is a picture from back in the day when they were the only thing happening on "hotel row". We used to snorkel from Hotel Bonaire to Habitat and then walk back on the road to warm up.

Here's pretty much what the airport looked like when I came to Bonaire in 1975. I think this picture is from 1973, but I suspect that it looks about right. It was an interesting flight, I know we stopped in Kingston Jamaica and maybe Curacao as well. The further south I got, the smaller the airports got. Lots of people used to drive out to watch any time a jet was scheduled to land, much like what still happens if a KLM Boeing 747 is scheduled to arrive.

Here's an aerial view of Kralendijk from early 1973.

Here is a 1973 shot of Kralendijk, looking out to sea.

Speaking of a blast from the past, here is a web cam picture of our son, Richard, and his friend, Jim, diving behind our house, which was located right next door to the original Bonaire web cams. We've since moved inland, and so have Jake and Linda, but we all sure had a fun time while it lasted! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Flying around Bonaire

I went flying with Ernie Franke again last Saturday in the Bonaire aero club's Cessna. There was no wind and the sky was quite clear.

I took around 218 pictures before I filled up the 2 gigs of memory in the camera. Don't worry, I'll only inflict a few pictures on you.

I shot loads of pictures as we passed by Washington Park. I'm hoping to assemble a few panoramic images that document the various ranges of hills that I've been climbing this year.

The Caribbean Sea was glassy smooth in the bay by Kralendijk, and the east side was quite calm too.

Above is a picture of part of the Solar Salt Works near the TWR transmitter site.

Dog days of October

We've had little or no wind here on Bonaire since last Friday. The fitful breezes that we've had lately have been from the west. Yesterday, a big smog cloud from the refineries in Curacao arrived over Bonaire. Yuck!

We've had quite a bit of rain and some thunder too. The Bonairian micro mud frogs are croaking up a storm each evening and the stink bugs have been hanging around our lights at night too.

The silver lining to all of this is that I was able to ride home from Rincon much faster than usual this morning. There is usually a nasty head wind when I'm riding back from Rincon, but today there was a slight tailwind when I first exited Rincon, and later the hills in the middle of Bonaire blocked the fitful breezes quite nicely. I was riding at 2o+ mph for much of the way back, which is good for me. It felt great to be flying on roads that I am usually fighting the wind on.

Speaking of dog days, Sandra informs me that the puppy is 9 months old today. He celebrated by chewing up my solar panel/car battery charger unit. grrrrrr...

Oct. 20, the last Antilles Day?

The Netherlands Antilles used to consist of six islands. Aruba went its separate way to have direct ties with Holland quite a while ago. Now the rest of the Netherlands Antilles is dividing up as well. This Friday is Antilles Day, a holiday here. It might be our last one.

Bonaire, St. Eustatius, and Saba will be directly tied to Holland as a group. The main points of this new realationship were worked out a week or so ago, and the Bonaire government just approved it yesterday.

Here is a link to an overview from the Bonaire Insider web site. Once you are on that site, there is also a link to the original Papiamentu language press release, if you would like to practice your Papiamentu skills. We received a faxed copy of the press release here at the station, but I must confess I haven't read it yet.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Iggy Iguana

I was sitting at the computer in our son's room the other day when I spotted this iguana in the tree outside his window. He looked different than the usual ones we see around the yard.

Here he is giving me the evil eye. Posted by Picasa

Wayaka Tree Revisited

Back on May 17, I posted a couple pictures of our Wayaka tree in full bloom. Those flowers have turned into fruit of some sort and the Loras are having a grand old time chowing down on them.

This pair hung out together in the tree for quite a while. Sandra enjoyed watching them and also took some pictures.Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 02, 2006

New Bonaire Calendar

Last Saturday evening we dropped in at the launch party for the 2007 Bonaire Creations Calendar. It was great to see our old Hato neighbors (we've both since moved) and calendar creators, Jake and Linda Richter. We also we able to catch up with a number of Bonaire friends who we don't see all the time, and meet some new (to us anyway) people as well.

The launch party was held in the courtyard/driveway in front of the Antillean Wine Company facility. They are located in a very upscale rented storage spaces facility on Kaya Industrial. There are two blocks of storage units, and the paved area between them was perfect for hanging out in the evening.

It was also a perfect enclosed play area for the kids who were there. Some of the kids had come with equipped with rollerblades and some hadn't. It wasn't too long before they all were zooming around with one blade and one sneaker. I was impressed with their camaraderie as well as their one footed rollerblading skills.

Here is a link to a full size image of the scene as it was beginning to wind down later in the evening. It is a mini panorama, so Blogger may squash it when I post it here. You can see Jake sitting at the table underneath a giant size print of a calendar page. Unfortunately, Linda is hidden behind the group of calendar loving fans clustered at the table.

There were a variety of wines to sample, as well as some non-alcoholic champagne. I think I witnessed a new record for long distance cork popping late in the evening when they broke out a new bottle of the bubbly stuff for some of the kids.

One can't have a wine tasting party without cheese, so Jake spent Saturday afternoon cutting out little cubes of a number of cheeses as well as ham and sausage. Thank's Jake. There was a smoked cheese that I really liked, and everyone was raving about the Bonairian goat cheese. Yum!

We picked up a few of the calendars to use as Christmas presents for some of our immediate family members. The rest of you can get your own 2007 Bonaire Creations Calendar online at Bonaire Stuff and at Caribbean Art.