Written by: Amalia Fadilla (15119072)

On 8-28 August 2022, I was involved in the Widyatama Nusantara Expedition, initiated by the National Innovation and Research Agency (BRIN). The project invited five undergraduate students across the nation to participate in the expedition through a series of selection processes. The purpose of this expedition is to uncover the earthquake-prone and tsunamigenic areas in the vicinity of Ambon Island through seafloor mapping using multibeam echosounder aboard the Baruna Jaya VIII Research Vessel (R/V Baruna Jaya VIII). Several sub-bottom profiler lines were also carried out to visualize several profiles along interesting features obtained from the multibeam.

Study area: The Maluku Sea

It was my first research cruise. There were lots of unforgettable moments and lessons learned. For instance, the onboard researchers would happily share their knowledge with the students involved in the cruise. One time, we were very busy discussing many things, from earthquake mechanisms, the survey equipment installed in the R/V Baruna Jaya VIII, to data processing. We did not even realize that we started out quite early in the morning (08:00 AM) and we finished the whole discussions quite late at night (10:00 PM)!

Knowledge sharing onboard

This cruise gave me an opportunity to see how the lectures I have received in the classes are practiced in a field work. I was able to witness firsthand how the deck team installed survey equipment, participated in measuring ship headings, witnessed the multibeam echosounder calibration process, carried out onboard processing of multibeam echosounder data, and became a navigator who created and directed lines conducting in the surveys. It is also interesting to witness how the rocks obtained from gravity coring sparked an utter joy to the whole survey team! We also went to a nearby river to match the rocks obtained from the gravity coring technique to those found along the watershed.

Researchers and student participants looking for… rocks!

As for the food, never during the cruise I was ever dissatisfied with the food and snacks provided by the pantry team. It was always delicious! We also had a chance to celebrate the birthday of our party chief, and it was unforgettable! These special moments truly showed the solidarity among the research team and the ship’s crew – we teamed up to throw a surprise birthday party for our party chief!

Party chief birthday bash!

On the 17th of August, we dedicated our time to carry out a raising flag ceremony on the research vessel and I was selected to be the flag bearer during the ceremony. It might sound usual and nothing extraordinary, but when we practiced raising the flag, apparently, we went through so many challenges! For instance, the wind was blowing very hard that it makes big waves that would hit the ship so strongly – it was even difficult for us to stand up straight!

Although the journey to the survey area was quite long (10 days transit to the survey area), I was always happy and was never bored because the whole crew always include us in their daily meet-up to talk and joke around. Often, we sang karaoke together to relieve boredom during the transit.

Researchers and vessel crew getting ready for survey!

All in all, the expedition was such a valuable experience. I will always hold this moment dearly in my heart.

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