I don't think people realize you can get to level 8 before arriving at neketaka without fighting enemies. You get group XP by discovering map points such as Ondra's Maw. Just stock up on supplies and go sailing. If you want you can even clear Mapping the deadfire quests 1 and 2 as they are doable before going to neketaka. This means that once you visit the queen and turn in these quests you'll be level 9. High enough to loot all the goodies in the stores. I usually leave neketaka around level 11-12.
Here's a nice thread about getting xp before fighting anything, I think you can get to 16 easily, especially if you do a few quests that have easier fights:
Oh I'm sure you can, but that would make the game utterly boring.