Boat Swag & Approaching the Natives

Boat Swag
We’ve seen several boats that tout their blog address in big letters on their boom. Others wear hats and shirts emblazoned with their boat name and website. We stand out enough with our terrible language skills so we try keep to our boat and ourselves from looking like a walking advertisement. Currently we carry one piece of boat swag: Boat cards. And to save money we make them ourselves (see our DIY recommendations).

We are currently considering one other piece of boat swag. A boat stamp. When I cruised with my folks in the late 80’s we had a stamp with our boat name attached to a shiny silver handle. It was heavy and made a lot of noise. If you have ever dealt with customs in some countries you know how much noise they like to make with their stamps. And the more papers to stamp, the better. Thwack, thwack, thwack.  We never had any trouble with customs.  Vlad on Bettie del Mar just bought a customizable stamp and thinks it has eased his bureaucratic dealings.

Making boat cards

Interacting with Locals
Before leaving to go cruising I thought a lot about something we could bring with us to give to the locals or to trade for fresh food. Some ideas were T-shirts, toothbrushes or school supplies for the kids. So far I haven’t stocked up on anything to trade or give away simply because I haven’t found any one thing that doesn’t take up a lot of space and that I think would be useful to most people. So far, we have simply given or traded what we have on board or went out and bought what was needed. If anyone has a good idea for an easy-to-store item to buy in Mexico that can be traded/given away and will be useful to the people as we head west, please let me know.

Mostly trading works out just fine and everyone thinks they got the better deal, but sometimes you can be left thinking, What just happened?

A couple of friends of ours who are cruising the Sea of Cortez were anchored in a small bay enjoying the afternoon. A panga pulled up alongside and asked them if they wanted some fresh lobster. But of course! was their answer. They gave the fishermen some chocolate and batteries in trade for the lobster and the fishermen were off to pull fresh lobsters from their traps. Here most of you probably think that they just took off with the goods never to be seen again, but you would be wrong. Our friends watched the fishermen drive out to their traps and come back a while later. Empty handed. They said they had checked their traps and they were empty. The fishermen apologized profusely and drove off – with the batteries and chocolate.

(I just realized that this story might be misconstrued. By no means do I believe that the fishermen stole the chocolate and batteries. It was merely a misunderstanding. Probably due to a language barrier. Our friends laugh about it to this day and it’s one of their favorite stories to tell)

This post was written as part of a blog-hop. Visit the Monkey’s Fist website for posts about this topic written by other cruisers or check out these topics:  

Why do we Cruise
Relationships Aboard
Pink and Blue Jobs Aboard
Leave it or Bring it: Stuff
Clothes and Laundry

7 Responses

  1. We’ve traded batteries et al. for lobster in Mexico, but handing stuff over was always after we saw the catch! but you know, the fishermen we met there were honest to a fault…I’d want to give those guys the benefit of the doubt.

    1. I wasn’t at all trying to imply they stole anything!! I thought the story as very funny (as did the people it happened to) and probably just a misunderstanding due to language barriers. Hope no one thinks I was trying to accuse!

  2. I am looking forward to bartering one day! Hopefully we’ll have something someone will actually want! lol.

    As far as websites plastered on people’s boats..Is it mostly businesses or actually just cruising people like you and I? We will definitely never be a walking advertisement but do want some waterproofish boat cards to hand out. It will make for easy way to remember others as well.

  3. In French Polynesia we didn’t find a lot of trading opportunities but we were invited to a lot of homes for dinner and so we wished we had more “little innocuous gifts” to bring with us like maple syrup from home or something that isn’t a weirdly inappropriate charity item.

    We’ve noticed a lot of Frenchies with their websites on their boats and so I’m starting to think it is more culturally normal there, esp. for younger cruisers.

    Our boat stamp hasn’t eased the bureaucracy but it has been super fun:

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