Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Live Broadcast of The Messiah this Saturday

Duke University Chapel’s beloved annual presentation of Handel’s Messiah is going international this year in a broadcast and live-stream collaboration with TWR.
We'll be broadcasting the Saturday concert here on Bonaire, on The Voice of Hope, 89.5 FM.
Pre-concert music and interviews will begin at 2:30pm Bonaire time, and the live event will run until 6pm.

This concert, as well as the Friday evening performance will also be streaming live on the Internet at www.TWR360.org
You can find out how to listen to it here.

Monday, November 17, 2014


We recently visited Hershey's Chocolate World with Richard and Nancy.

It was great being there in the off season.  We did chocolate tasting and created our own candy bars and wrappers.  Yum!

And we checked the yummy smelling, just completed, chocolate house, made for the Christmas season.

So you can imagine my reaction this morning, when i came across an article from the Washington Post on MSN dot com, about the looming world chocolate shortage.  Yikes!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Bonaire Photo Print Sale

In connection with the 50th anniversary of Trans World Radio, Bonaire, I made a series of 13x19 prints of Bonaire scenes, that we've been offering at the TWR Office here on Bonaire for $20.  Half the proceeds go to TWR and half to my printer and ink fund. :)

We've had the prints on our BradSandra.Swanson Facebook page for a while, but I think you can now see them in one of my Picassa albums as well.  Try the link below.

13"x19" Bonaire Prints

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Flamingo Fun

From time to time, as we travel in the States, we see the fabulous Bonaire Flamingoes' plastic front yard cousins.

Last week we were amazed to see an apparently new species of tree dwelling flamingoes.

Retirement Recreation

Our first stop during our two months in the States was with my parents at Willow Valley, in Lancaster, PA.  When we weren't stuffing ourselves silly in the dining hall, we visited the brand new recreation center.

There is a golf simulator that looked pretty cool to our untrained eye.

There are a bunch of vintage 1950s and 1960s pinball machines, ski-ball, and the baseball game that I loved to play as a kid.

One does not need to insert coins or tokens to play any of these.

There is also a swimming pool, a couple eating areas, meeting rooms, a large gymnasium set up for volleyball and some indoor racket sports.  A basketball hoop is coming soon.  There's also a modern exercise center, and a bowling alley.

Once the word gets out, kids all over are going to be chomping at the bit to visit grandma and grandpa.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

TWR 360

I just got this update from our TWR office in North Carolina.

twr360 now has more than 29 languages available. Last month, between 8,000-9,000 unique visitors per day from more than 225 countries/territories spent time on the twr360 site.

Check out the language of your choice online at twr360

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

TWR Global Quest Starts Today

Just a reminder that the TWR Global Quest online game starts up today.  No, i haven't signed up yet myself, :) but i'm planning to, so I can see what all the buzz is about.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

TWR Global Quest online game

From September 9 through September 30, the USA office of Trans World Radio will be sponsoring an online game, TWR Global Quest.

Visit the site now and sign up so you will be ready to compete for weekly prizes, as well as a grand prize of a trip to a TWR broadcasting site.  If you live on Bonaire, you'd probably want to choose the Guam or the Swaziland option, not Bonaire!

You'll also learn how God has used ordinary people like you and me to reach every corner of the world with His Word over the past 60 years, and what is happening with TWR all over the world right now.

Ray Alary Reports from Bonaire

Ray Alary, president of  TWR Canada, was here on Bonaire a few weeks ago for the 50th anniversary event.  He wrote up an insightful behind the scenes look at the operations here.  Be sure to check it out and meet some of our unsung heroes.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Snorkeling Championships

As you might know, Bonaire offers world class snorkeling.  But not everyone is so blessed.

From the "if you have a lemon, make lemonade" department,  check out this video of the Bog Snorkeling Championships.

Monday, August 25, 2014

TWR Bonaire Office - Then and Now

I think I'll file this under "The more things change, the more they stay the same." 

Here's a shot of the first TWR Bonaire office at 139 JAA Blvd back in the day.  Looks like all the staff members had the same idea about what the hot setup for vehicles was, don't you think?

Here is a shot from a few weeks ago.  Looks like we still have the herd mentality going strong.
There are a couple more pickups that could have been in this shot, but they were out and about I guess.

Monday, August 18, 2014

TWR Bonaire Photo Archives

Carol Van Dyken created a PowerPoint presentation consisting of hundreds of old images from a variety of TWR archives.  We showed it at the open house on Aug. 11.
I've uploaded the pictures from this PowerPoint to a new Picasa album.  Hopefully this link will take you there.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

TWR Bonaire 50th Anniversary

Trans World Radio just celebrated 50 years of gospel broadcasting from Bonaire.  We had a number of events last weekend, Aug. 8-11, and guests from near and far.
I took a bunch of pictures and have just put them on a new Picasa online album.  Hopefully this link will work for you.

The pictures can also be seen on Facebook, but the Picasa ones might show larger on your screen.
"TWR-Bonaire" is the name of the Facebook page.

You can read more about the 50th anniversary events in a article I wrote for The Bonaire Reporter.  It is on page 8 of the current issue.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Getting Here from There

If you've been wanting to visit Bonaire, but haven't been able to afford the airfare, have i got a deal for you. We recently booked some tickets at a great price by flying on the new Friday Atlanta to Bonaire Delta Airlines flight.

Now Delta is having a fare sale for Friday travelers.  You can do a round trip from Baltimore, or JFK in New York for $600.  Boston is $618.   (We're flying to Harrisburg, PA for not too much more than that.) The best prices are available online.

According to The Bonaire Insider, you have to purchase your tickets by August 12 and travel between Aug. 22 and December 12.  There are some blacked out dates around Thanksgiving.  You can read the details on the Bonaire Insider site.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Starry Nights

We had a couple clear cloudless nights this past week.  Really good nights are somewhat rare and I try to get out somewhere dark if at all possible.

Here are a couple shots with the Rokinon 14mm lens, looking southeast from the Trans World Radio antenna field.
This is a 58 second exposure at ISO 800 and f2.8.  (I shot a few at ISO1600 too, but haven't really messed with them yet.  The tower lights tend to get blown out at the higher ISOs.)  This picture is lightly processed, and then downsized a lot, but not cropped at all.
You can see quite a broad section of the Milky Way; from alpha and beta Centaurus on the right edge of the frame, past Scorpius (above and to the left of the second tower from the right), Sagittarius (pretty much in the middle), Scutum (sitting between the top of the second tower from the left and the left most tower), and on to Aquila (half way between the left most tower and the left edge of the frame.)  And if you look in the top left corner, you'll see the coat-hanger asterism (Brocchi's Cluster.)

The photo below is the same shot with some perspective correction to make the towers stand up straighter.  This makes the stars a little fuzzy, but I like the overall effect.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Moon and Venus

The Moon was near Venus before sunrise this morning.  Venus is to the lower left of the Moon.  You'll probably need to click on the picture to make it bigger in order to see Venus.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Planets on Parade

We've been watching each night as Mars has been moving towards the bright star, Spica.  They will be at their closest Sunday night.
The moon was right in there with them a few nights ago, but it was too hazy here to see much.  I could see the moon and just barely make out Mars.
Mars will continue to head East towards Saturn in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

TWR Transmitter Building

Here is a recent shot of the TWR Bonaire transmitter building, looking good, after a recent group of volunteers from Texas finished with it.

Note the guys on one of the towers in the background.  Note the graded area towards the foreground where the 2 Alco diesels used to be.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Awesome Aerial Views of Bonaire

Did you see the new video of the 4th of July fireworks on YouTube?  I really liked seeing the bursts whizzing right by the point of view of the quad copter mounted camera.

It reminded me that I have never mentioned some truly beautiful views of Bonaire shot with a DJI Phantom and a Go Pro Hero 3.  I shot some aerial views of Bonaire from a small plane back in the day, so when I first saw this new drone camera platform, I really wanted one.  But now I don't need one after all, 'cause I can just sit back and enjoy this amazing video on YouTube.

TWR is on Instagram

I just heard that TWR has begun posting pictures and video clips on Instagram.  There isn't much there yet, but that will change soon I bet.
Speaking of posting, I can't believe that I didn't post anything in June, arrrrg.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Captain Don Remembered

I just got back from a viewing downtown for Captain Don Stewart, who passed away this past Wednesday.  I joined with many many people, from all walks of life here on Bonaire, to say goodbye to Don and to express our condolences, love and heartfelt prayers to Janet.
Here is a brief obituary from the Bonaire Insider.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Sunset Hike

As part of the 45th anniversary happenings, Washington Park held a Sunset hike up Brandaris yesterday afternoon.  It was really fun.  I took loads of pictures, because the sun was in the West, instead of in the East, like it was every other time I've ever climbed Brandaris.

Here is one of the friendly Washington Park Iguanas that was hanging around the parking area at the start of the climb.

We went down the hill in two groups.  I went in the first group so I could stop and take pictures without falling behind.  The shot below is looking back towards the top of Brandaris from the ridge line below the peak.
I took zillions of pictures, so I might be posting more later this week.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Flying Disks

I hosted a couple of mini astronomy evenings during the past month.  We looked at the Moon, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn in a telescope.  Also looked at Omega Centari, during the second session.  It was quite awesome at about 100x.

By the way, the Moon was right next to Venus this morning at about 05:30.  It was a very nice pairing.

Whenever I have the telescope out, someone inevitably asks me if I've ever seen a UFO.  I have to say, no.  But we did witness a most amazing re-entry into the atmosphere of a Soviet satellite, one New Year's eve.  It was a UFO, until we found out what it was. :)

In an homage to The Wizard of Oz, and Independence Day, my colleague Dave Pedersen and I are pleased to present the following two images.  In the first shot, Dave encounters a UFO when it lands smack dab on him.  Miraculously, he survived the accident and veteran pilot that he is, was able to take the controls and put that baby through its paces, as seen in the second shot.

Kibrahacha Tree II

Here is the same full moon nighttime shot of the Kibrahacha tree that I posted a week or so ago.  I boosted the contrast and didn't crop it.  It looks more like a late afternoon shot with the long shadows, and you can see the stars more easily, especially in the full size image.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Swanson Car Update

I recently wrote that we'd probably be selling the Buggy soon.  Well, I've had a change of heart, for now at least.  It is so peppy and fun to drive with the new exhaust system.

But we did sell our trusty 1991 Suzuki Samurai this week.  It is almost 23 years old and still going strong but there were a number of little issues that i didn't want to have to deal with.  The McGurks bought it, so we still see it at the TWR office every day.
We replaced the Samurai with a 2006 Brazilian Chevy S-10 pickup.  2006 seems pretty new compared to 1991.  There are loads of these Brazilian Chevys on the island, and they seem solid and durable.  This one began its life in a rental fleet, so it has loads of scuba diver induced rust to deal with.  I'll work on that over the next weeks and months.  It runs great and looks reasonably good, and the price was right. (you can't see the rust unless you look underneath the pickup)

I love being able to toss my bike in the back and zoom off somewhere.  It will also be much easier to haul all my telescope gear to dark sites with the pickup.  If feels huge and heavy compared to the little Samurai.

The other morning i had to zoom in to the office at 3 am to rescue the Portuguese feed from Brazil.  The transmitter kindly calls me on the phone when there is "dead air."  I hopped in the pickup and turned on the lights, hmmm, hi beams.  So i clicked the lever to get the low beams and got, total darkness!  Turns out both low beam bulbs were burned out.  It was an easy fix, but quite a surprise at 3 am.  The plastic covers over the headlights were so yellowed and cloudy, that even the high beams weren't very bright.  The previous owner probably just used them all the time.
When I was at our friendly NAPA store buying the headlight bulbs, I also bought a Turtle Wax brand headlight restoration kit, and spent a fun couple of hours hand polishing each headlight housing cover.  Here are before and after pictures of the passenger side headlight.

The difference when driving in the dark is like night and day, ha ha.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Kibrahacha Trees

We had some rain last weekend and a few of the colorful Kibrahacha trees popped on Thursday. 
The ones in the Sabadeco area and along the dirt road to Rincon, north of Sabadeco were at their peak all day yesterday.

The trees on the hills to the east of Antriol, and the trees around Goto Lake and in Washington park were still dormant.

Here is a shot where I tried to capture how dramatically the bright yellow Kebrahacha trees contrast with the gray rocks and dark olive cacti.

I'm always trying to figure out how to get a different kind of image of kibrahacha trees blooming, 'cause the same trees bloom every year.  I've got pictures from most every year since 2004.  You can do a search on this blog to see them.  Someone, maybe my nephew Dan, or maybe Doug Britton, once suggested doing a full moon Kibrahacha picture.  Well, the moon was just full on Wednesday afternoon, so i zoomed out about 10pm. Thursday night to have a try.  I lit the tree with our pickup's headlights, so i could focus, then killed the lights and took the shot.  Here is the result.

This is a 20 second exposure.  The clouds moved some during the exposure, as did some of the colorful kibrahacha branches.  If you click on the picture to see the larger size version, you should be able to see stars in the sky.  I used the daylight white balance setting in the camera and did not tweak the colors in Photoshop.  As Chuck Roswell once commented, moonlight is reflected sunlight, so it makes sense that the colors will come out pretty well.  The clouds are a teeny bit reddish, which could be reflected light from Bonaire.

I was browsing my picture folders on my photo archive hard drive and noticed that the Kibrahacha tree events, and hence the weather here on Bonaire, has some clear patterns.  Kibrahachas only bloom when there is a long dry spell, followed by a good rain.
Here are some dates, based on a quick search of my blog posts.
May 24 and Aug 28 2004
April 20 and June 12 2006
April 27 and June 17 2007
July 03 2008
July 13 2009
April 12 2010
April 19, 2011
April 19 and May 10 2012
May 01 and May 10 and Aug 02 2013
May 15 2014

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

IBC Sunrise Service

The International Bible Church had its annual sunrise service on Easter Morning.  This has been an annual event since at least as far back as the mid 1970s, when I first arrived on Bonaire.  Here are some images from this year.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Pelican Pictures

The pelicans were pretty busy down south today, here on Bonaire.  It is fun to watch them glide and soar, and of course, dive.

One can tell if any given dive has been successful, or not, by watching to see if the bird swallows something, like this one is doing.

Bike Ride Scenes

Good Friday and Easter Monday are days when there aren't too many cars on the roads.  So I rode my bike through town to the South side of the island.  It was pretty windy.  Check out this guy kite sailing with a hydrofoil type board.

Lots of families camp out on the various beaches over the long weekend.  There's lots of fishing going on too.  This guy was catching lots of small fish, probably the same fish that some pelicans were going after.  Those birds were all pointing into the wind and pretty much hovering there.

Here is a close up shot of one of the birds, with then Canon SX50 HS.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

New Camera First Outing

I've got a new "take with me everywhere" camera, a Canon PowerShot SX50 HS.  The built in zoom lens goes from pretty wide to super long, so I should be ready for just about anything, I hope.

Here are a couple shots from my bike ride Saturday morning.

Partner's Conference II

Its been a week since the leaders of all our regional TWR partner organizations were here on Bonaire.  It was a great week.  I've just finished sorting through all my pictures.
Here are a couple shots of the whole group.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Big TWR Conference on Bonaire

TWR has Spanish and Portuguese speaking partner offices in most every country in South America, as well as a few in Central America, the Caribbean and even, gasp, North America.

There are 36 people visiting us
here on Bonaire this week for the Radio Trans Mundial annual meetings.  Here is a shot of the whole group.  They are staying and meeting at the Habitat.

In the "blast from the past" department, Gabriel Fernandez is back on Bonaire this week.  He is the third from the right in this shot.  Widely known as the host of Despertar RTM, Gabriel is also the director of RTM Venezuela.

Also returning to Bonaire after many years is Dairo Rubio.  Dairo, pictured third from the left in this shot, represents TWR in Ecuador.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Windmill Wanderings

Saturday is my long bike ride day.  Today, I was testing out my new rear tire and didn't want to get in the middle of the park and find out there was a problem.  So, when I got to the park gate area, I turned east and rode along Playa Grandi/Morotin and the windmills.

I climbed a nearby ridge and snapped a few pictures of the scene.  What is really cool in the early morning, and what I didn't take any pictures of today, is that the shadows of the windmills go right across the road.  It is amazing to see the shadows of those giant blades revolving on the ground right in front of one's nose, so to speak.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Another Shameless Plug

I seem to be on an Amazon roll here.  (see yesterday's post)  If you read my blog every day, you are in luck.  Former TWR missionary kid, Megan Hustad's, book, How to Be Useful is one of Tuesday's Kindle Daily Deals.  You can pick it up today for $1.99 whoo whoo

It may not be a coincidence that Megan's second book, More Than Conquerors: A Memoir of Lost Arguments, was just released last month.  It sounds well worth reading.
  Hmmm... decisions decisions, buy it now or wait for a sale?

I watch the daily deals pretty carefully, 'cause great buys come along if you are patient.  I was able to finally get Eric Metaxas' biography of Wilberforce at a great price a couple months ago.  I'd been watching for it ever since Sandra's cousin, Bud Gillan, gave us Metaxas' biography of Bonhoeffer.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Shameless Amazon Smile Promotion

I buy tons of stuff from Amazon, both personally and for work.  I usually check Amazon first, because they make it very easy to ship stuff to wherever and whomever I need it to go to.  I think my Amazon shipping address book has three pages.

I just learned about the AmazonSmile Foundation.  If you go to www.smile.amazon.com instead of the usual Amazon site, you can select your favorite charity, including Trans World Radio.  After you select TWR, hint hint, then .5% of your purchase price for eligible items will be donated to TWR.

The big news is that right now, until March 31, Amazon Smile will donate an extra $5 each time you shop and make an eligible purchase, in addition to the usual .5%.

You can use your usual Amazon user name and password, and the prices seem to be the same on the smile.amazon.com site.  I feel a buying frenzy coming on!  :)

I just bought a compressed air line dryer for our antenna painting rig and, shazaam, $5 plus .5% went to TWR.  Pretty cool.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

NRB Recognizes Project Hannah for Partnerships

TWR's Project Hannah women's ministry was recognized at the National Religious Broadcaster convention in the USA recently.   In response, founder, Marli Spieker said, "the honor represented by the award belongs first to God and second to the local women who make this outreach possible."

Bonaire has its own Project Hannah affiliate, which meets regularly in prayer for women's needs, and produces the radio program, Muhé di Speranza.

You can listen to Muhé di Speranza on the Project Hannah Web site.

Read the TWR news release by following this link.

TWR News – NRB Recognizes Project Hannah for Partnerships

Monday, March 10, 2014

Bye Bye Buggy

We're planning to sell the buggy soon.  I decided that the new exhaust system I was storing in my office would add more value if it was on the car, rather than sitting in a box.  So instead of waiting (even longer) for the stock exhaust system to rust out, I went ahead and installed the new system.
When I cut off the old system, which was the same as what was supplied on a 1970's "VW Thing", I  couldn't believe how thick the tubing was.  I think it would have lasted for years.
The car is noticeably quicker with the new system.  This exhaust really lets the dual carbs breath, and it sounds cool too, even with the quiet muffler.  If I had known the extent of the performance boost, I would have put the new exhaust on a long time ago.  :)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Traffic Circles near and far

There are still no traffic lights here on Bonaire, and only a few stop signs.  But we do have traffic jams downtown around noon and 5pm.
Bonaire now has four traffic circles, with more in the planning stages.  They do seem to help smooth out the traffic flow at busy intersections, and my admittedly un-expert perception is that they seem to cut down on accidents too.
For something completely different, check out this amazing suspended traffic circle, just for bicycles and scooters, in the Netherlands.

Monday, February 17, 2014

TWR 60th Anniversary Web Special

TWR international is celebrating its 60th birthday this year.  There is a special anniversary Webinar this coming Thursday, Feb. 20.  This live 30 minute long event will begin at 12 - noon Eastern Time.  (UTC -5)

Register online now to hear TWR president, Lauren Libby and other ministry leaders (like Sandra's dad) review God's faithfulness over the past 60 years.

You can also connect by phone.  If you want details about that, shoot me an email.
I think my Hotmail address is somewhere on this blog.  :)

Friday, February 14, 2014

New TX Site Picture

I was just out at the TWR transmitter site, clearing away a few bushes by our new photo op spot.

Here is the view of the sign, antennas and tx hall.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Cars Part 2

I recently wrote about car hunting with a friend.  We weren't successful in our quest, but it was fun.  In addition to the cars mentioned last time, you can get a new Honda Civic, starting at $26,900 or so.

But now for something completely different.  I've seen some really cute small cars zooming around Bonaire for a month or two now.  They seem to run in packs.  I caught up with them up on top of Seru Largu not too long ago.

Road Runner Bonaire is using the Renault Twizzy for guided tours of the island.  So that is why I only saw the cars operating as a herd, so to speak.

The Twizzy is a plug in electric vehicle, has a range of 60 miles, and can go up to 50 miles an hour.  They also apparently can get up the hill to Seru Largu ok, which is no mean feat.

As you can see, the Twizzy can accommodate two people in a fore and aft arrangement.  I think the Twizzy would make a great second vehicle, instead of a scooter, or motorcycle.

Seems like a perfect fit for sunny, dry, Bonaire, as opposed to London, for example, see this video. (Twizzy video follows the ad)