Hello, my name is Gabriel Schuler. I am twenty years old and currently a junior at Saint Francis University (Loretto, PA). I am an REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates, funded by the National Science Foundation) intern working under Rachel Parsons in the Microbial Observatory at BIOS. For my project I am studying ocean microbiology at the BATS site. It is specifically focused on bacterioplankton community structure within the oxygen minimum zone.
The BIOS station is located on St. George’s Island. The easiest way to get to BIOS, when arriving at the airport, is by taxi. There is also a bus available from the airport to St. George’s and from the closest bus stop you can walk to the BIOS station. Yet, being located so close to the water presented itself more unique ways of traveling to the airport.
One intern from England kayaked to the airport. My project partner, David was determined to outdo the kayak. The plan we came up with was to build a raft and paddle that raft to the airport. That night we began the build of the raft.
Gathering bamboo poles that had been cut down we started to build a frame of what size we wanted the raft to be. We kept adding more and more poles of bamboo and tied them together with homemade rope from palm branches and old rope that was found. This finished raft was named the AE “Airport Explorer” after the R/V Atlantic Explorer owned by BIOS.
We then carried the finished raft to the water to see if it was a sea worthy vessel. After being pleasantly surprised that it floated, we used kayak paddles to slowly make our way to concrete beach. It was then tied up for the night.
The next day we attempted to bring David to the airport using the little AE. We thought that using the kayaks to help pull our raft would make it faster, however this did not help. In the end the raft was too slow to make it to the airport, but as the saying goes it’s about the journey not the destination.