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Old 28-12-2009, 18:29   #1
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Following the Steps of the Ancient Mariners...Trade

The ancient mariners were mainly traders, from the ancient Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, ect.... to the later sailing ships had their various trade networks, revolving around spices, slaves, tobacco, rum, and so on... Every place a trader would visit, they would drop off cargo, and pick cargo up, and hopefully make a profit. Once a trading circuit could be established, they would follow that circuit as long as it was profitable. I think this still happens with some of the Dhow (sp?) routes on the African and Arab coasts. I think it still can be done in most tropical places.

For me, all illegal or harmful goods are forbidden. I'm mainly talking about small scale barter, and hoping to earn that magic $500 per month by just bartering. I know in Mexico and Latin America, cheap clothing with any American college or sports team can be sold or bartered for a decent profit (even if the clothing is used). Barter is the best option since money doesnt change hands. For example: "5 Oakland Raiders jackets for 20 gallons of Diesel"......

I'm sure this is going to be a fun thread, but serious commentary is invited here.

I know most are going to have fun with this thread.....
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Old 28-12-2009, 19:45   #2
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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 for fish. 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 at it.

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 and Singapore over the last five years, cash is king.
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Old 28-12-2009, 19:57   #3
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Thanks for your thoughts on this brother. Yeah, in Singapore cash is king of course. People in the South Pacific need a lot of stuff like antiboitic ointment, old t-shirts, fishhooks and line always, and will trade fruits/veggies, carvings, ect. for that kind of thing. Mexicans and latinos like printed garmets from the USA, so there is room for trade in these places. I do appreciate your opinions since all points of views our important to our community.


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