Every encounter between Santiago and Manolin reflects the affection they hold for each other. Santiago affirms the authority of Manolin's father in forbidding Manolin to go fishing with the old man after his luck is gone, even as he continues their friendship. When Manolin sits with Santiago to watch the activities of the harbor, their conversation is of good fishing in their shared past and of baseball as equals, not condescending as could happen when a much older adult is talking with a child. When Manolin plans to go fishing with Santiago after he recovers from the hardship of his great catch, Santiago is appreciative of the company and of his loyalty.
Santiago and Manolin is not your usual adult and child. They stood in a equal standing. Sometimes Santiago took care of Manolin, and sometimes Manolin took care of Santiago. Their role did not remind same, but switched around throughout the book. Even when they were not together, Santiago kept wishing that he had Manolin together with him in the sea.