I think it is a romantic notion and good luck with it. The issues are many. Getting above the radar
wil result in the authorites wanting to get involved and finding out why you aren't paying import
duties or sales taxes
or have a business permit
. But on a small scale it happens all the time.
We frequently trade beer
. However we bought the beer
so the fish
may or may not work out to be cheaper than the wet market. I haven't found anyone that wants to trade me beer for my good looks.
I met a lady cruiser who made shell jewelry and sold it at ports
of call. She didn't make much money
Trading for manufactured items like diesel fuel
will be interesting. Everyone knows how much a liter of diesel fuel
costs and most locals will know the value of an Oakland Raiders jacket (not much in Asia
- Who are the Raiders?) - Not sure you are going to get many people trading 5 jackets for 20 Gallons of diesel. Here in Singapore
that's about US$70 worth of diesel.
The local guy will know that he has to get $70 in cash at some point to buy more diesel. $14 a jacket? I don't know. In tropic climes no one has jackets anyway. Fishermen here tend to wear 30 year old t-shirts and sari wraps - when they get dressed up - LOL.
I suppose for the right goods it might work. Local people in tropic climes don't need much. Maybe fishing
line, hooks, cooking
pots, alcohol, medicines. Also whatever you bring probably needs to be compact and non-perishable as the space on the boat is at a premium.
Bottom line is that after watching cruisers come through Malaysia
over the last five years, cash is king.