Author: Nita CJ
This laidback Bugis man has sailor blood running through his veins from so many generations down the line. His father, his grandfather, and his great grandfather were all sailors roaming the waters of the archipelago, knowing every turn, wind, and waves like the back of their hands, and his father only just retired a few weeks ago as captain of a cargo vessel.
A little over thirteen years ago, Rizal followed in his father’s footsteps working for the same cargo vessel. A couple of years went by and an opportunity to work on the Ombak Putih raised itself in early 2009, and he dove headfirst into the hospitality industry, working his way up from being a deckhand to now being the Chief Officer – only second in command after the captain.
Even though Rizal’s family is originally Buginese (South Sulawesi), they migrated to the island of Sumbawa many generations ago, and he is the sixth generation to have been born and raised in Sumbawa. This father of three admits he miss his family all the time and uses his free time talking on the phone or video calling with his wife and children who are now living on the island Lombok. His eldest daughter, Cinta, is now entering her teenage years, followed by her younger brother Rafi who’s twelve. The youngest, on the other hand, is only two years old – a little girl named Mutia.
Many guests who have been on a cruise aboard the Ombak Putih are familiar with Rizal’s friendly smile behind the wheel. He enjoys meeting people from all around the world and having the opportunity to show them the beauty that Indonesia has in store. Raja Ampat his personal favourite trip because everything is beautiful – be it above or under the water, and it’s full of adventures and endless exploration. Not only a seafarer, he also possesses a musical talent for guitar playing and an impressive dancing flair. In addition to music, he is a keen sportsman, and especially likes soccer.
When I asked him if he liked working for SeaTrek, his eyes light up. “I wouldn’t stay here for eleven years if I didn’t like working for SeaTrek. These people (read: the crew) are my second family. This is my home away from home”.