Monday, August 31, 2009

Bonaire Mtn. Bikers Rule!

Flash! Bonaire Cycling Team members Erik and Rhian won the Men's and Women's Elite Mtb. categories this weekend at the Antillean Cycling Championships in Curacao. Above, Erik and Rhian celebrate their victories. Below we can see that Miguel has really perfected that Bernard Hinault grimace. He crashed on the last lap, but was still able to finish the race.
Below Erik is leading a train of riders. It is a good thing that team tactics don't come into play very much in mtn. biking 'cause Erik was seriously outnumbered there.

Below we see the intrepid Team Bonaire members heading to the start of the races in Curacao.

A big thank you to Miguel and photographers to be named later for these action shots.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Youth Sunday

If a month has five Sundays, the fifth Sunday is always youth Sunday at the International Bible Church. So the young people picked the songs and lead the worship service this morning.
A great time was had by one and all.
The super musical Francees family provided the instrumental and sound system support.
I won't mention the kids' names since this is the big bad Internet. But if they want to pull the pix onto their Facebook pages etc. that would be ok.

Windfarm Progress

It's been a couple weeks since we last visited Playa Grandi / Morotin area to check out the crop of windmills on the Bonaire wind farm. They've been busy out there and wind turbines are sprouting up all along the line. These pictures were taken pretty near the entrance to Washington Park.
The picture above is a 1 to 1 crop from the picture below. You can see the Spelonk lighthouse on the horizon in the distance.

I sort of over processed the image to make the lighthouse more visible. I didn't notice it when I was taking the pictures, but the camera caught it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Antenna Tower Project Progress

About a month ago, I wrote about a special fund raising project to underwrite the cost of rebuilding our four antenna towers here on Bonaire. The goal, which was over $100,00 was met today! Any additional funds that come in for this project will be earmarked for the continued upkeep of the Bonaire towers. Talk about good timing. The new tower parts and the paint were delivered to our transmitter site just yesterday afternoon.
Painting the new cross braces and installing them on the towers is a job that will last well into next year.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Nosey Pup

One of our dogs has figured out how to nose open the jalousie windows in the living room so he can better monitor the goings on in our neighborhood. Here is a clip of the nosey beast in action.

Swanson's Bonaire Buggies

Our down the street neighbor, J@n M. Brouwer, is doing a series of articles about interesting vehicles that can be found on the roads of Bonaire. He wrote about our Bonaire buggies in the current issue of the Bonaire Reporter. He also took this photo of Sandra and one of the constituent parts of our eco-friendly, home security system. Below is a photo of our son, Richard, helping to wash the original Swanson Bonaire buggy back in the day. No, those pistons in the background are not from a VW motor!
We've subscribed to the online version of the Bonaire Reporter for a number of years, even though we live here, because we don't always get around to picking up one of the hard copy editions when they come out. If you want to keep up to speed with what is happening here on the island, check out the Bonaire Reporter online. The current issue is always viewable without a subscription. Sandra is on page 14 of the edition you can find online right now.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Moon and Planets Show - Friday

A teeny tiny crescent Moon made an appearance in the Bonaire Sky Park this evening. (August 21) The sky was reasonably clear so the Moon was very easy to spot. Mercury was quite easy to find, and Saturn was pretty easy, but it didn't jump out at you. Mercury (upper left) and Saturn (upper right) made a nice triangle with the Moon. You'll probably have to click on the picture below to make it bigger so you can see Mercury and Saturn.
By Saturday night, the Moon will have moved to the upper left of Mercury. The Moon, Mercury, and Saturn will form a tilted line in the evening sky. That should look pretty nice too.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Boka Kokolishi

I think that Sandra's favorite spot in Washington Park is Boka Kokolishi. It is located in a rugged area but contains a quiet pool of water and a sandy beach. The beach is unique because it consists of crushed and powdered sea shells. The sand has an unusual texture and feel as you rub it in your hands.
I love all the huge weathered coral rocks in and around the sandy beach area.

The waves hit an underwater shelf and allow the area near the shore to be quite calm most of the time. Cooling off in that clear water feels especially good because that dark sand gets quite hot.
Here is a shot from near the ocean end of the inlet or boka. It was fairly choppy that day.

Snowy Scene

We're getting into the hot time of the year here on Bonaire. The thermometer has been reading 89 or so degrees Fahrenheit lately, but the online weather sites say that it feels like 100 when all the factors are taken into account. Sounds about right to me.

So imagine how thrilled I was the other week to see this snowy looking scene between Karpata and Bopec. The ground and trees remind me of what I used to see while skiing in Vermont or New Hampshire. Of course, that was a long long time ago, so maybe my memory is getting fuzzy.
Still, it is surely an unusual look for Bonaire and it caught our attention big time. Turns out it is actually coral dust from when the trench for the new power cables was carved out of the solid limestone rock.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sartorially Challenged

I wonder if Superman ever had this problem. It was almost time for the Tuesday afternoon group mountain bike ride. So I zoomed into the bathroom at work with my bike duds, to morph from a mild mannered missionary into Pow-er Ped-al-er.

I peeled off my civilian clothes and reached into my back pack extracting my cycling jersey, helmet, socks, and black cycling shorts. But wait, those aren't my cycling shorts, it's a black Lycra shirt I used to wear windsurfing! Since my legs wouldn't fit through the sleeves, there wasn't much chance of pressing the rash guard into service for the bike ride. So I was stuck in the men's room with nothing to wear. Well, actually I put my civvies back on, collected my stuff and headed home.

But all was not lost. I had been wanting to retrace the last part of the ride we had done the previous Saturday. I wanted to record the route in my GPS, which had mysteriously switched itself off during the Saturday ride. I think that the bumps may jostle the batteries enough that they momentarily break contact and the unit randomly shuts off. So I retraced the Saturday route, and then added a climb up Seru Largu and a run down the single track trails to Sabadeco.

That Saturday ride was a really good one, by the way. The sky was clear, the winds were low and we had 18 riders as we set out, which might just be a new record for an intermediate group ride here on Bonaire. We were all over the middle part of the island on that ride. You can see where we went on map my run dot com. Make sure you select the satellite map when the web page opens.

The lead riders even made a wrong turn fairly near the beginning of the ride, and had to turn around at the end of a dead end road. That meant the faster riders had to catch up to the slower riders, who where suddenly at the fore. It was all great fun, only had a couple of flats, which were quickly dealt with, and those who got lost (in two different instances) didn't stay lost for long.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Wind Farm Update

Back on August 8, we drove by the emerging Bonaire wind farm on our way back from Washington Park. This completed pad looks like prop left over from the movie "Men in Black". They've been busy since the last time I visited the site. All the pads are poured and most of the wind turbine components are stacked nearby.

They were offloading the first of the towers as we passed by. They say that big crain is here from Curacao for the project. It's been a week now, since we were there, so I'll have to head back soon and see if they've stood that post up yet.

Here's Sandra doing her best Vanna White impression by one of the rotor hubs. Actually it reminds me of "Lets Make a Deal." Do you want what's behind door number 2 or curtain number 3?

Here are some of the rotor blades. The outer ends have up-swept tips, like modern airplane wings. And the inner ends have little brush-like bristles where the blade meets the hub.

Root Beer - a Blast from the Past

We made some home made root beer a couple weeks ago. This is something my family has done since I was a little kid.
Home made root beer is basically water, sugar, a little yeast, and some flavoring. We used to use Hires flavoring. Now we use Shanks.
After a week it is fizzy enough to enjoy. After two weeks it is about ready to burst the bottles and the yeast has eaten up much of the sugar. So we put it all in the fridge to stablize the stuff. This tangy root beer is absolutely amazing with vanilla ice cream. Can you say "Root Beer Float?" We have a bunch of 40 year old (maybe more) bottles that we use when we make root beer. Modern bottles can't handle the pressures generated by the do it yourself brew.
We used to only make root beer in the summer in Massachusetts and New Jersey, because one needs the hot weather to keep the yeast going. Here on Bonaire, one can make root beer at any time, of course.

Bonaire Sky Park

I think the Bonaire Reporter coined the term, Bonaire Sky Park, to go along with Washington Park and the Marine Park. I like it. The BSP is particularly appealing during the summer months when the Milky Way really stands out in the evening sky.

We had a couple very clear nights last week, so Sandra and I zoomed out to Red Slave to star gaze. We saw some awesome meteors and marveled at the Milky Way in all its glory.

Here is a combination of 150 ten second shots of the Milky Way climbing into the sky at Red Slave. The slave huts give a good feel for the scale of the view. You can click on the image to see it bigger. The original image is 3733 by 5629 pixels. I may try making a poster sized print some time. Or.... I may just head out to Red Slave and try it again.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New Trans World Radio Video

Summer intern Ryan Jensen has put together a couple video presentations for TWR based on his travels to Venezuela, Bonaire, and Africa this summer.

Our own Benny Saragoza stars in this one!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Wara Wara portrait

I haven't posted any Wara Wara pictures for a while. Here are a couple shots of a bird we saw Saturday morning between Rincon and Washington Park. I was tempted to keep walking closer to this bird and try for a head shot. But I decided to keep my distance so as not to disturb him and just crop the shots in the computer. These are 1 to 1 crops.
Here is the bird sitting on top of a cactus.