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Meet the Crew Monday: Deckhand Cri!

What is your name, where are you from and how old are you?

People have been calling me Cri for a long time, so that’s what I tell others. Often, they change it to Cream, or Creed. I think it might be a difficult name to remember. My brother usually makes something up every time, something involving the word porc (it means pig in Romanian. Maybe I’ll say now that I was born in Romania (that should explain why my brother (he was also born in Romania, you see) uses a Romanian word) and decided to follow along with my parents when they moved to Canada when I was eight.) Phew.. I’m glad I managed to get out of those brackets. Now, where was I? Oh yeah. I think my brother doesn’t actually know my name. That’s pretty common, I guess. I suspect most people don’t know my name. I’m approximately 33 and a half years old. 

What is your role on board?

I am a deckhand on board. And that means the following:

“3. Duties

3.1. The duties of the Rating deck encompass all the general work on a square rigged tall ship, specifically

maintenance duties, deck duties and galley duties and performs duties according to the Station bill.

3.2. The Employee will have to follow directions given by the Captain, the First mate and the Bosun.”

-My employee contract, Nov. 2023

A lot of duties, apparently. My role sounds simple enough but sometimes the captain, first mate, and bosun give differing directions. In those situations I remember that I signed this document and panic. 

Can you tell us more about your favourite voyage?

I’m finding it hard to pick a favourite. I was on the 81 day covid sail from Ushuaia to the Netherlands. That was a very unique trip. We had much less crew on board than normal, just 19 people. That meant that there was less cleaning to do, less dishes, and it gave us more time to enjoy the sailing, and to goof around. We also didn’t have a minimum average speed to meet. There were situations when we did a lot of sailing and maneuvers where on a normal voyage we would have to use the engines to arrive on time. That trip had everything. From storms, to calms, to… umm… regular weather. Everything… 

What is it like to live and work on a tall ship like Bark EUROPA?

You get woken up at quarter to two in the morning to go on watch. You spend ten minutes putting on 6 million layers of clothes in the dark, while trying your best not to wake up the engineer sleeping nearby. Your watchmate is doing the same thing next to you. He chose to put on his socks first, so when the ship rolls he slides into you and you both smash into the engineer’s bunk. “Huh? What time is it? Is there a generator fault? Are the watermakers working? Did you clog the“— “Shhh” you say. “Go back to sleep” you say. Having dealt with the engineer’s panicked half-dreams you put on the next 6 million layers of clothes and make your way outside for the handover. The other watch tells you what you need to know as you look up at the sails and notice the t’gallants are set. “We set the t’gallants”, they let you know. Now that the serious business is done you talk a bit and hang out with the members of the other watch. You don’t get to spend a lot of time with them, unless you sacrifice sleep and follow them around as they work. Once the captain and mate finish with their own serious nonsense, one watch is dismissed and the other gets to work. “Who wants another coffee?” Is the first order of business on a night such as this. Next, you do a quick walk around the deck to make sure everything is ok. “Looks alright to me” you say, as you squint into the darkness. By this point, it has been way too long since you’ve cleaned something. 

Hmm… I was planning to write a story about a whole watch. But now I got bored. Well, that’s about 45 minutes worth of living and working on the barky. 

What do you do when you are not on the ship?

Floating around, mostly. 

But for serious, I like visiting the friends I’ve met on the ship. And when I’m at home in Canada, I try to think of ways to enjoy my life as much as I do while sailing. One of these methods is that I’m currently building a canoe, with which I hope to go exploring one day. At other times, I search for sailboats to buy. But inevitably I make the decision that I shouldn’t buy one a few days before I go off on the barky again. 

Could you tell us about a unique destination you've visited on board EUROPA and what made it special?

The ship visits so many beautiful places. And the ocean in between these places is amazing as well. But I think what truly makes them unique is the crew that you get to share them with. You get to know some very special people by living and working with them on the barky. 

What's the most memorable moment you've experienced while sailing on Bark EUROPA?

Seeing the ship under sail from a zodiac in the middle of the Atlantic was very special. The zodiac was struggling to keep up using the motor, while the barky was effortlessly gliding through the waves with just the power of the wind. It was a very beautiful sight.

But the moments I find most memorable are the ones created by the crew. Finding new and exciting ways to do the cleaning. Snowball fights across the masts while furling sails. The right people can make anything, and any place, memorable. 

What is the most important lesson you've learned from your experiences on Bark EUROPA? 

The single most important lesson I’ve learned is that I have to put the footstep of courage into the stirrup of patience. 

Are there any unique traditions or rituals that the crew follows on board Bark EUROPA?

If you find a phone laying around, it is encouraged to take a few pictures with it. Selfies, closeups of the inside of your nose, etc. 

How has being a part of Bark EUROPA's crew influenced your perspective on the ocean and the environment?

It hasn’t really influenced my perspective. I’ve known for a long time that the way most of us as a species live is not good for the environment. Everything we do has an impact, and it’s nearly impossible to be fully environmentally friendly. But I do like how the Europa helps to educate people and spread awareness about this issue. The more people doing what they can, the better. 

Is there anything else you haven't mentioned now and would like to share?

Umm, not really. I hope you’re having a good day. 

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