Philippine Island in the Sun

Its amazing the pull that the Philippine Islands still have on most people that have lived or visited there. I miss the diving most of all and its world of beautiful ocean life and to be mesmerized by its tranquility. I also miss the smell of the Islands especially after a rain, or how about the night air while on a boat going to or from Grande, and the phosphorous wakes while cutting through the dark, deep and thick swells of ocean water? I missed the nights fishing off the pier at Grande, not knowing what you where about to catch, and to see the massive schools of squid or cuttle fish that the lights would attract. You could see  75' below the surface at times as the light waves exposed the oceans night life and many creatures of the sea! I would catch fish of all types including crabs, squid, lobster and share with friends. On Grande the next evening or after a morning dive, we would sometimes have a pit BBQ.

Does anyone remember Charlie, a 6' Barracuda that would hang around the pilings and feast on pipe fish at night? Or the huge sea turtles that would swim by? I remember when I would free dive for hours around the coral reef off the front beach of Grande, watching sea enenomies, and clown fish live and survive in hominy with each other! Or jaw fish fight with neighboring jaw fish over a pebble, spitting blast of air at one another! I would laugh so hard at times and choke on salt water forgetting where I was! At times I would become so involved and mesmerized by the under sea world or chasing a particular fish that would actually change colors depending on the background environment or find myself in huge schools of fish, even barracuda. I then would realize the ocean  floor dropped out of site and find myself in dangerous places, deep and dark never ending waters and very alone except for the large predators of the sea and in fear that I would become the prey!

I tried diving here in the pacific ocean off California coast, but no thanks, I was spoiled big time in Subic Bay! I learned to water ski in Subic, and below, you could see sharks at times or huge gatherings of sea urchins, it made you a better skier for sure!

I  set out  to find me a women here in the states that would sail back with me. Well, I found the women and was making the transition from a 22' Catalina to a 32' gulf motor sail, but my loving wife became afraid of the ocean because Jaws really does exist you know. So it became a choice for me, her or the life long dream! So here I am longing to sail back to that Island in the sun and ocean paradise! I traded in that desire for a mountain top with 10 acres of land in the mountains of California called Yosemite National Forest, found in the Sierras. but I must say that the Philippine Islands is still in my blood, and the closest I will ever come is a memory and a chat on the internet with others that have been there! So be it! I will cherish the memories! Sail on, someone out there, for us that still dream !

Jim Nichols, AB3, 1962-1964, USN Special Services Subic