The Motorized Bonca Boat
By: Jim Nichols 1962 -1964
Station on Grande Island had so many benefits it became a complete play ground rather then a work place, my schedule had never really been reviled to me other then just be there and enjoy the Island in the sun.
After all how many people at the age of 18 has the opportunity to be an executive of an entire party Island that had very few rules and regulations.
The parties were almost every day from early morning to late evening and myself or 2nd class petty officer Tom Watkins would use one of the two vehicles on the Island to meet the Party ship landing craft on the beach ( the parties were so big they would use the ships LST) to transport food, drink etc. and we would escort them to the designated party place, and of course, we would always be invited to join the beach party bash! Jarheads and Swabbies can throw some great parties.
I remember one time Tom was setting in the Jeep and woke up in the water both him and the jeep and had to be rescued, after over indulging in to much state side bubbly, but that was one of the fun memories of
Subic, how much was to much? and there was no limit or shortage of anything! Tom was a funny guy, we would at times run across each other at Grande Island parties or in olongapo and he would always introduce me to his new love of the evening, Tom where ever you are today? I hope you got your eyes checked because you always pick the ugliest girl in the bar to fall in love with even if it was a one night stand.
The Bonca boat!
One day in the rainy season we were hit with a major typhoon and was marooned
for 9 days on Grande, I remember some of the waves that slammed the island was 30 feet high, one of such waves broke open the restaurant/bar doors and allowed us that is myself, Tom and Brown (Master a Arms) access to all the food and drink we wanted, we lived high on the hog as they say, eating steak, hamburger, hotdogs and drinking all the San Miguel and booze we wanted! I don't remember much about those 9 days but it was a vacation within a vacation if that makes sense to you!
Anyway after the storm receded and the Island workers returned, they surprised me with a 14 ft bonca boat that washed up during the storm that they worked on and restored, and even had hand painted naked ladies on the bow, it was beautiful! now I could dive from it and put my speared fish aboard and making me less chance of being bait for the sharks, thanks guys!
The only thing it was missing was a motor which this story is all about anyway, by the way this boat was more fun then any boat I have ever owned and the girls (native or round eye) loved to go diving off of it while on the back side of Grande, bathing suit was optional...
One early morning at about 0200 a boat pulled up to the wharf and sound its horn, so I got dressed, jumped in the jeep and drove over to see who it was, low and behold it was a friend from boat pool that I had talked to about buying a cheap used motor, he had found just what I needed, a 10 horse Johnson outboard only for 20 bucks still in the case, what a deal! Was there something wrong with this picture? Yes but being the naive 18 year old that I was I didn't ask.
Now! It was captain Nick of Grande Island with my own boat I could sail around the Island, dive, fish, party anything I wanted to do even go to Subic or Cubi Point for more fun unlimited... Unfortunately it didn't last long, my friend from boat pool informed me the three letter alphabet Navy Dept. was looking for a stolen motor and to beware of suspicious people that would be visiting Grande.
It became to the point everyone looked suspicious to me and that I was going to end up in the brig temporarily until being transferred to a Federal prison for the rest of my life, busted and all this fun would come to an end! Thanks buddy wherever you are!
Finally to the end of this story, there is a motor in many small pieces that lays on the bottom of the ocean floor or other wise known to have been deep six-ed some where in Subic Bay!