The Call of the Sea – Aug. 9, 2012

Today was another fairly uneventful day that began with me cooking breakfast on the gas stove. When I went to feed the dogs at 7:30, I took a few minutes to do some stooping and scooping. When we wrote up my TO DO LIST a few days ago, Brandon put at the bottom, Other duties as assigned. I guess that is part of my other duties.

(Not many photos, so there isn’t a web album for today)

As I dictate this on my cell phone for my mother to transcribe, I’m sitting at the end of the dock at Bruce Bowker’s Carib Inn, which is about a block away from my house. It had been my intention to join in on a scuba video night here, but apparently I got my wires crossed, and there is nothing happening here tonight.

It is now almost eight o’clock, and I can see the boats all around me, tethered to the mooring buoys. I just had a nice conversation with a diver from San Francisco. He told me that Bruce has the highest return rate of all the dive shops on Bonaire. One of the reasons is that he lets the divers be self supervised with respect to how long they want to stay down. These days, with dive computers, you get a credit for time spent at a shallower depth. So if you spend 25 minutes at 60 feet, without a computer you would have to figure on a total bottom time of 50 minutes. But if you return to 30 feet on the way back to the boat, the computer gives you credit for that and lets you stay down for perhaps 70 minutes. People like not being baby sat when they’ve been diving for decades, like this gentleman has.

To my right is the town harbour, and the two local heavy tugs have just left port. They are heading south for who knows where. Out on the horizon about five miles away is what looks like the lights of a super tanker that apparently just left the Bopec Oil Terminal on the north of the island. My guess is it is heading empty back to Venezuela.

To my far left, just beyond the airport lights are the four towers of Trans World Radio. Immediately to my right moored to the dock is a high-powered speed boat they use for diving here. My guess is that Bruce sometimes goes to the east side of the island in this boat. I plan to do at least a few dives with Bruce before too long.

Today’s work began with me making a comprehensive list of all the bugs I’ve discovered in the new website software. As usual, Brandon assisted me with putting out last night’s blog. He is a great help, making sure I have all my facts correct. We usually get the blog online by ten o’clock.

I also replaced the TWR Bonaire logo in my website banner with a Bonairian flamingo I discovered in the vast store of photos here. So now my banner features a flamingo and the Bonairian flag, which I think looks a little better. We are currently waiting for the graphics department in the US to design our TWR Bonaire logo.

After lunch, Laura came to work, as her son Benjamin was in school. We sat down and went over our ‘bug list’ in great detail, and actually were able to solve a couple of the problems, but we added a few more. We ended up with about 23 points that we need tech support on from the U.S. IT Team. That is now in their hands, and we will have to wait to see when they get back to us.

We then divided up the site map, with each of us taking a page that we would be updating. We have roughly divided it in half. I’ve also tried to prioritize which pages I will be begin working on first. The first one I’m going to tackle is the staff page. Tomorrow I have to take pictures of our Bonairian full-time workers, and also interview them to create a bio. I think the Bonairian workers are quite flattered with the attention.

Sometime in the afternoon, Benny, the Bonairian foreman, came in and asked for a DVD copy of the video that he was featured in, so I made a copy for him and left it with Brandon. These guys are wonderful Christian men who are very helpful and friendly.

The next thing that Laura and I discussed was the organization of the almost 10,000 photos we have on file. It was my thought that we need to figure out a way of making them searchable by first tagging all the pictures. Right now we are investigating what software would be able to stamp each picture’s meta data with the tags we want. For example, each picture will be stamped, “Copyrighted TWR Bonaire.” Next we would add other tags. For a picture of a tower, the tag would be “Tower,” and then we could label it for the year. So let’s say you are looking for a tower from 2003, you would type in “2003 Tower,” and up would come a list of all the pictures of the towers at that time.

Laura agreed that Picasa, the free photo-editing software from Google, would likely be the best choice. We will dive into learning that software, and see if it will be what we need.

The next step is to document exactly how we process the pictures, so that the staff can continue to tag the pictures as they take them in the future.

The end result, we hope, will be a local, searchable data base of photos. Due to security concerns, it is against TWR policy to publish photos in the public domain without approval. Some photos may be published in conjunction with the 50th Anniversary and at a later date.

After work, I decided to drive through Antriol and see if I could stock up on my ear-cleaning solution. I still have half a bottle left, but I don’t want to run out. It is an alcohol-based solution that removes the water from your ear after a dive. It takes getting used to, as it kind of bubbles in your ear for a couple of minutes. Unfortunately, the drugstore didn’t have anything of the kind. I’ll have to check with a few of the dive shops.

Next I decided to try a local Chinese restaurant called The Peking Restaurant and Bar. It is just down the hill from the old theatre in Antriol. I thought I would like to see some of the local people, so I sat down for a meal. I ordered the nasi goreng special, and ended up with way too much to eat. It was an interesting cultural experience and I didn’t leave hungry.

I really enjoyed talking with the local people that I met at the restaurant. To hear and see things from their point of view brings an interesting perspective.

Then it was off home to feed the dogs, and head over to where I am now.

I still find the smell and the sounds of the sea an irresistible draw. I don’t think I ever got over not having the ocean nearby after I left Bonaire. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to be back here by the ocean.

The stars are out. The breeze is gentle, and the mosquitoes aren’t very bad, so it is a wonderful evening all the way around.

Time to read a bit more in the book about my namesake, Sir John A. Macdonald: Nation Maker.

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