A month ago, Gunawan, an Exploration Chief at Indonesian Directorate of Underwater Heritage contacted me. He offered me to join his expedition as an underwater expedition photographer. This expedition was called Identifying the potential of underwater heritage at Karimunjawa, Jepara, Central Java. I said yes to his offering because it has been my dream to become a shipwreck diver like my favorite diver John Chatterton, the writer of Shadow Diver, a bestseller novel, and Richie Kohler.
The team consisted of 25 people who were underwater archaeologists from all over Indonesia. I am so proud that I was one of them. We departed by bus at 5pm from Indonesian Ministry of Culture and Tourism office. After a long 11 hours ride, we arrived at Kartini Port, Jepara. We were transferred then to Karimunjawa Island by ferry. And 6 hours later we arrived at Karimunjawa.
The Expedition Chief divided the expedition members into 4 teams. They were: the interviewer team, the tracking system team, the orientation team, and the underwater survey team. I joined the orientation team, which had the task to document the shipwreck before the underwater survey team entered the water. My buddy of that day was AnJus aka Andi Jusdi. He was a videographer with a background in Archaeology. We presented the documentation to all team members after dinner. This was meant to inform them about the site so they could review their survey plan.
We dived the Genteng Shipwreck at Menjangan Kecil Island to update the development of the shipwreck. It was called Genteng Shipwreck because of the ship carried many genteng
(rooftop) before it was sank. Fitra, our safety diver, carried an extra tank as an emergency air supply if we might have caught up in out of air situation. We planned our bottom time no more than 20 minutes to documented the shipwreck. It was 2 years old a wooden shipwreck. So it could not categorize as an underwater cultural heritage but it could become a dive spot for water sport tourism.
Why Karimunjawa Island has so many shipwrecks sites? The question traveled on my mind. So I asked my expedition chief about it. He said the navigation system at that time was not as sophisticated as now. Beside that the bathymetry around Karimunjawa Island was to extreme.
It had been an honor for me to become a freelance underwater expedition photographer for The Indonesian Directorate of Underwater Heritage. This experience has convinced me more that I love Indonesia.