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Old 10-02-2008, 00:23   #1
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Bartering and trading in the So Pac

Through my reading of books and different cruising blogs I keep seeing that in many areas of the South Pacific, and may other cruising grounds.

My question is this...what are good bartering items to have along and what might their value be per item?

Also, I was going to lay in school supplies, used eye glasses ( aquired from optical shops ), etc...

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Old 10-02-2008, 00:44   #2
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tee shirts, tennis shoes and soccer balls
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Old 17-02-2008, 19:38   #3
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Trading

In Vanuatu, PNG, Solomon Islands:
for men - fishing line, fishing hooks, homemade food (pizza went down well!), hand tools for carving (files, etc)
for women - dried herbs, bars soap, perfume samples (5ml), old bed linen, fabric (allow 2M for sarongs), any old clothes for any sex and age
for kids - balloons, colouring pens, cheap plasters for cuts (don't ask me why they love these), hard boiled sweets, children's books

I basically went to the $2 shop and loaded up. We carried very few 'large or expensive items' (I consider a baseball cap 'expensive' but the Americans were giving them away) as we were mostly trading for vegetables or fruit so preferred smaller things to give to more people. Expect to be 'canoed' at every anchorage :-)
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Old 17-02-2008, 19:56   #4
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We periodically trade beer for fish. The fishing boats are giving us stuff they think they got for free and we are trading off pretty cheep beer.

Also quality rice trades well. Calrose and Thai rices trade well.
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Old 17-02-2008, 21:47   #5
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Thanks,

Great info y'all.....keep'em coming!

Wahoo
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Old 17-02-2008, 22:06   #6
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Wahoo,what ever ya do be very coy about what ya have for barter(don't make it openly known)I have heard of a few cruisers having unwelcomed visitors aboard thier boats while ashore sightseeing and whatnot.If you barter with someone,don't take up the offer of "Dinner with the family"afterwards.Sad as it may sound,most of these people are not well off,temtation of something for nothing rings too true.Batteries,small AAA's and 6volt lantern ones are allways in need.If you intend bartering and staying on a bit,think about the best and strongest lock-up for ya boat.Mudnut.
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Old 17-02-2008, 23:06   #7
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Giving things away as gifts may go further than trading not so much in material posessions or money but in cultural experiences. People tend to give gifts in return. This seems like it would be a much more rewarding experience than becoming a small trade ship. Seems like a friendlier way of meeting people and learning about their culture. Generosity has its rewards as well.

I would be thrilled to give away a soccer ball away in order to see a bunch of kids play with it all day, perhaps some who have never even seen a soccer ball.
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Old 20-02-2008, 20:06   #8
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Visiting the locals for dinner

I often accepted invitations to dinner at local villages and was more than comfortable leaving my boat unattended. In 5 yrs in the Pacific I never lost more than a pair of cheap sunglasses and that was my own fault for leaving them unattended within reaching distance. It was a great experience having dinner with the locals and they often performed music or dance. They really appreciated it if you could reciprocate by playing a musical instrument (we carried a guitar), telling stories or joining in their dancing (this was not for me as I have 2 left feet!). Etiquette dictates that you do bring a gift but it does not have to be extravagant. I would usually cook something cheap and cheerful like a curry or Chilli con Carne and take a bit pot of it with me. I never took alcohol or traded alcohol (although I definitely drank it!) as it is taboo in a lot of cultures.
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Old 25-02-2008, 09:46   #9
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Wahoo, some very good advice, especially from Daisy Dog and David M.
If you are in F Poly, speaking some French goes a long way. We are fortunate that we can speak it fairly well and we had an amazing experience. We went to one atoll 130nm west of Bora Bora with a population of 9. We were adopted by one woman who took us out fishing every day in and outside the reef and showed us how to make all sorts of things. The experience and memories are worth so much more than any bartered or traded items.
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Old 27-02-2008, 03:55   #10
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Bear in mind that many live very happily what is called "subsistance", which means, what is available and caught, so if on entering an anchorage and you have a nice fish on ice (NOT FROZEN), go and make yourself known to the local chief, then offer the fish. You will probably eat some of it. If not, the last visitor left a "bad taste" or there are some local issues worrying the locals...

Go quietly, observe polite behaviour and remember time is not important, as tomorrow will come soon
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