The Ultimate Crewman

What makes for the ultimate crewman for a Na Pali Coast cruise boat? Good question. Ultimate-like perfection just does not exist, but I do know what traits I look for after having had my share of crewmen.

It’s not just being knowledgeable as a guide. There must also be charisma, and a thirst and love for ocean adventure in all conditions. Most boat captains would say it’s basically having salt water DNA in the blood. You’re born with it if you have it. Look at the family history, as I have, and you will find sea captains and fisherman in the family line.

A good crewman’s value to a sea Captain is about as valued as a loving wife is. In more ways than you can count, the crew decides your survival and your success.

The traits wanted and needed are embodied in what is known as the Hawaiian waterman. When your crew has even some of it, you’re in good hands. They have to love the water like fish. If your anchor is stuck fifty feet down, they will get it unstuck. If a tiger shark is coming in too close while free-diving, they stay calm and aware—instinctively pulling close together like a protective pod of spinner dolphins in tight formation.

They’re at home and at their best when on the water and in any challenging sea condition. Their ocean demure imparts a sense of calming-the-waters. They’re not whiners. They don’t complain about being wet and—having solid stomachs—they don’t get seasick. Actually, opposite to most, they’re more likely to get land-sick—like a fish out of water. It’s probably from no longer smelling, or feeling, or seeing the ocean. Maybe that dash of saltwater in their veins requires the comforting up and down rhythm of the relentless sea. Or, maybe they have secret hidden gills behind their ears—and just a yearning to be with their fish friends. Who knows?


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Chris Turner