Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Jammin' - Jamming

People often ask us if anyone ever tries to "jam" the broadcasts of Trans World Radio. It can be done, of course. It doesn't take a very strong local transmitter to block the signals from a distant radio station.

Although TWR has and still does transmit programming to countries where either religion in general, or Christianity in particular, is not welcome, as far as I know, our broadcasts have not been and still are not jammed. We audition all our programs before they are aired and make sure that they stick to a positive presentation of the core elements of the Cristian belief system, as opposed to political, economic, or sectarian distinctives. This may help keep us off the jammers hit list.

Believe it or not, Albert Dosti, one of the leaders of the "department of jamming" in Albania, back when it was arguably the most hard line atheistic country in the world, heard the broadcasts of TWR, had a personal encounter with the risen Christ, and is now a leader of the TWR ministry in that country. Here is his story, as it was published in "info Serv", the news journal of Trans World Radio's European region:

In the 1980s, Albania - a small poverty-stricken country on the coast of the Adriatic Sea - was being run by a Communist dictator. "My job in the military was to intercept radio signals that came from other countries," Dosti recalls. It was also his duty to teach other soldiers how to recognize "enemy" radio signals.
"At the end of the 1980s, I heard some signals that were coming from a Monte Carlo station (in the Albanian language). These messages spoke about God," Dosti says. These messages were the first of their kind he'd ever heard - because the atheistic government of Albania had outlawed all religion. "Believing in God was forbidden," Dosti states.
Yet through Trans World Radio's Bible studies that were transmitted from Monte Carlo, Albert was able to listen and study God's Word for two years. Eventually, he responded to an invitation at the end of one of the programs; when he did so, a correspondence with TWR began.
This interaction led to Albert and his wife attending a Bible study camp after Albania's dictatorship fell. Soon after, the couple made a decision of faith to follow Jesus... and Albert's new life of leadership soon began.
Now, this former Communist army radio interceptor is receiving revelation from God's Word and transmitting it to the congregation of the Way of Peace Church, where he is pastor. He is also influencing for good those who attend Victory School, an educational program located in six places throughout Albania. The staff teaches children English and other job skills. In addition, Albert is now the chairman of the board of Gospel Waves, TWR's Partner ministry in Albania.

You can read more about the current state of Christianity in Albania in a report filed by Barbara Shantz, TWR-Europe ministry development director. My estimation of Barb skyrocketed when she bought her husband a nice Specialized road bike for his birthday one year! What's that got to do with anything, not much, unless you are a bikie. Then it needs no explanation. :)

And here is an inspirational story about bringing Christmas back to the country of Albania.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Morao Hill in Washington Park

Here is a picture of Morao hill, in Washington Park, as seen from the top of Seri'Camina, the next hill over to the North-Northeast.

Morao is the hill that I took the panoramic photo of Brandaris from. In this picture, you can see Brandaris in the background to the right side of Morao.The view from the top of Morao is actually very very nice, and it is waaaaayyyy easier to climb than Brandaris.

In fact, there is a cement road part way up the hill. You can see it at the bottom middle of the picture. We went up the cement road, and continued up the dirt road to the top left corner of the picture, and then headed right along the top of the ridge to the top of the hill. When we came down, we cut across the slope and caught the dirt road part way back to the cement one.

A slightly larger version of this picture can be found on the panoramio site.

Brandaris Panormic Photo Posted

Back in the early days of my blog, I seemed to be posting shots of Brandaris, the highest hill on Bonaire, every couple weeks or so. I've taken lots more pictures, but I've restrained myself...

However, I just broke down and posted a panoramic image of Brandaris as seen from the top of a hill called Morao.

The image I posted is 2915x700 pixels and about 630k in size, so I didn't include it here in order to spare dial-up users from having to download it.

If you view the image full size ( don't let your browser re-size it) and you know what to look for, you can just see Curacao lurking right at the top edge of the middle of the right flank of Brandaris.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

SeruLargu to Sabadeco Bike Ride

I did a cool bike ride after work today. It may not be doable for too much longer, because of housing development going on East of Sabadeco.

The ride starts at the WEB power plant in Hato and goes straight up the hill on the dirt road to the water tanks in Republic. But you hang a right turn only part way up the hill and traverse on soon-to-be-paved dirt roads over to the normal road to Republic.
You head downhill on the Republic road part of the way back to North Salina, and then hang a hard left turn onto the road that goes up Seru Largu. According to my GPS, it looks like the Seru Largu road climbs about 310 feet in about a half mile. It's a killer hill on a road bike, but not too bad on a mountain bike.

About 20 feet before the top of the Seru Largu paved road, you hang a left onto a dirt road that continues to climb all the way up to the new radar tower at the tippy top of the hill.

Then you take a linked series of dirt roads over the top of the hill and down the other side all the way to the new construction East of Sabadeco. The first half is fairly decent double track, but it deteriorates to barely ride-able rock strewn trails.

The trail ends right between lot 62 and lot 63 in the area that is being developed for housing. There are small connecting paths between some of the other Sabadeco communities, so maybe, just maybe, this trail head will still be accessible even after all the houses are built.
Then you finish the ride on the normal paved roads from Sabadeco back to the WEB plant in Hato. It's only around six miles, and could even be done as a hike, but it is an adventure none the less.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

New Links to Pictures

I just edited the "Links" section on the right hand side of this blog page. Our "twrbonaire dot com" web site isn't working right now, so I removed that link.

I added a link to my new Panoramio web photo album. I'm putting Bonaire scenery pictures there that should eventually get linked to the Bonaire map on Google Earth. I've added a few more pictures since the last time I wrote about this. The above picture of the hill to the south of Dos Pos is the most recent addition. There is a very nice hiking trail, clearly marked with pink rocks, that climbs partway up this hill, traverses around it to the back side, and then climbs up to the top. You can see the terraced trail, partway up the hill, quite clearly in this picture, if you click on it to see the bigger version.

I also added a link to my new Picassa Web Album. Blogger is in the process of copying all the photos from this blog to that album. Only the last few months' photos are there so far, but that should change soon. So if you ever want to look for a photo that you remember seeing here, but can't remember what month or what year! you first saw it, the quick way to find it might be in this Picassa album.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

More Windsurfing Photos

I put some more pictures from Sunday's windsurfing event at Lac-Cai on my Club Photo page.

There is also a brief report as well as link to some action photos and people photos on the Bonaireinsider site.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Windsurfers in the Waves

Today the 20th annual Bonaire Wave Challenge was held outside the reef at Lac - Cai. The conditions were great and the sailors threw moves that you would have to see to believe. They got my windsurfing juices flowing again, that's for sure.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Photos Linked to Google Earth Maps

I have most of my Bonaire photos at Club Photo, and some large scale ones at " hosting".

But I'm putting new photos on the "Panoramio" photo hosting site. The cool thing about this site is that if you include location information with your photo, it will eventually connected to a click-able link on the Google Earth maps. So if you haven't yet downloaded the free Google Earth software for your computer, here is another reason to do it.

There are a bunch of very nice photos of Bonaire already linked to the Google Earth map of Bonaire. For example, you can click on the little round thingie by the airport and see a close up picture of the airport.

I've uploaded some aerial photos of Bonaire locations, some of which I haven't posted online before. I think they can be viewed right now, by clicking the Panoramio link, and hopefully, withing a month or so, by clicking on the little dots on the Google Earth map of Bonaire. There can be a considerable lag between the time one posts a photo to Panoramio, and when a link to it appears on Google Earth, and they don't promise that all photos will be linked.

I'll be adding more photos on the Panoramio site, so you might want to check it out from time to time. You can click on a thumbnail to see the picture bigger. There is also a link to a full size version of the picture. It looks likek panoramio will support huge files.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Eclipse Report

The Bonaire trade winds were howling on Saturday, so hooded sweatshirts were a wise choice of attire for our intrepid eclipse observers. I think the star to the lower left of the moon is Chi Leonis and the one to the upper right is 59 Leonis. I think that the moon's position relative to those stars should be somewhat different at other observing locations around the world. For example, according to my planetarium software, the moon would have appeared to be almost on top of 59 Leonis as seen from Little Falls, NJ.

The sky was cloudy along the eastern horizon last night, but once the moon got up in the sky a bit, we had a great view. The eclipsed moon was surprisingly blah when viewed through binoculars or the telescope, but it looked great with the naked eye!

We were at a dark site a little bit Southwest of Sorobon and had a great view of the winter Milky Way while the moon was in the earth's shadow. As the moon reappeared, the myriads of stars disappeared until only the brightest ones could be seen.
From what I have heard today, it appears that quite a few people on Bonaire observed the eclipse last night. My friend, Bill Heatley, sent me this link to an animation of the path of the moon through the earth's shadow. A number of recent eclipses are still on the site as well. The animations really help one visualize what was going on, and why the moon looked like it did during the eclipse.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Saturday March 3 Lunar Eclipse

When the moon rises in the East this Saturday, here on Bonaire, it will be almost totally eclipsed. I hope it is clear that night because this could be interesting to see.

Here are the specifics about the eclipse for those on Bonaire. I got these localized predictions from You can go there and plug in your location and get and get all sorts of personalized information about the sun, moon, planets, satellites, meteors etc.

18h37m35s Partial Lunar Eclipse at moonrise
18h43m46s Totality begins
19h20m52s Greatest eclipse: Total Eclipse Duration total phase=74.2 minutes
19h57m58s Totality ends
21h11m42s Partial lunar eclipse ends
(18h is the same as 6pm, 19h is 7 pm and 21h is 9pm)

If you live to the East of Bonaire, you can see more of this eclipse than we can. If you live to our west, you'll probably only be able to see the second half of it.