Yes, we know. The boat is already stuffed to the brim. You’ve got beer under your pillow and boat parts under the galley sink. Even still, it’s really important to bring a few extras along as gifts for the locals you meet along your travels.
The people you meet along the way will most likely be some of the kindest, warmest and most generous people you’ll ever meet. They will also be the people you need most. Without internet, Yelp and a language barrier, you’re going to be relying on local resources for just about everything. In the places we visited, money was pretty useless to our local friends (there was nowhere to spend it!) but there were plenty of other things they did have use for. Plus, for the “right” things, they were also happy to barter for things we reallllly wanted (read: fruit).
Before taking off, we loaded up on inflatable children’s soccer balls. They flattened out and stacked pretty compactly in the aft cabin closet. They were a smash hit with the kids we met – and what parent doesn’t like to see their kids happy?! ;)
Fishing lures and extra line were popular from Mexico all the way to Fiji. For a lure, 10 feet of old line and a soccer ball, we scored 3 huge papayas, 13 pamplemousse and a massive bunch of bananas. In a place with no supermarkets within a few hundred miles! This, friends, is called success.
If you’re passing through Fatu Hiva, local friends we made admitted that they really appreciated wood carving tools. That is their main export and without proper tools, they can’t produce. The work they do is absolutely phenomenal and each piece has a story behind it. Stop by the local “gallery” on your way back from the waterfall, the family there will be happy to tell you about their work!
Leaving the Marquesas, we quickly learned that farming becomes much more difficult when your island is made of sand. There is zero fresh fruit. Well, nearly zero. The abundance of bananas and pamplemousse in the Marquesas screeches to a halt when you enter the Tuamotus. Even more remote than their sister island groups, the people of the Tuamotus have very little access to fresh…anything. That being said, hang on to your seeds! It’s a little weird at first offering up a ziplock bag of your old papaya seeds but just wait, they will be seriously stoked.
We also brought along a few bags of Halloween candy, tea, cookies and little tidbits we could bring over when we ate with new local friends. In the same way we were curious to try their local cuisine, it was fun to share a bit of home with them!
**For our salty sailors, what gifts did you find to be a hit with your new local friends?**