While at Subic as a Teenager
By: Tom Campbell

While at Subic, as a teenager, I already knew what I wanted to do after high school graduation which was a career in electronics.  I spent most of my after school reading and learning as much as I could about electronics, spent a lot of time at the main base library and also at the main base hobby shop. 

I was mature for my age and very creatively absorbed. Built a small hydroplane that was 4' X 8' (2 sheets of plywood rounded in front and fastened to the ribs with screws); powered with only a 5 hp outboard motor, it would actually get up on a plane with a top speed of around 25 mph.

My class had a beach party at Magna beach and I decided to drive my hydroplane to the beach from the SRF area instead of riding the bus. The ride went smooth until I crossed the mouth of the Olongapo river. A high speed navy river boat crossed my path several hundred yards in front of me but I didn't see its large wake in time before I hit it.

My hydroplane cut through the wake (submarined) and emerged from the other side. I cut the engine thinking I would be swept overboard, but I managed to hang on and the boat stopped afterwards in a floating upright position (it had water tight compartments). 

I inhaled and swallowed some of that river water!  From Olongapo's cesspool!  I almost immediately started puking my guts out while leaning over the transom, the smell was also horrible as you could imagine!  I saw a "floater" close by which didn't help me feel better. Also I was kneeling in the flooded well of the hydroplane. 

I managed to restart the engine and it took the boat forever to get up on a plane due to the extra weight of the water in the well. I pulled the drain plug, the water slowly drained as the boat plowed forward and eventually it got back up on a plane as the water drained out. 

Finally arrived at the beach, I got out of the hydro, laid down and it took about 3 hours before I felt good again. While resting, I let some of my most trustworthy classmates take the boat out. One of my classmates wanted to drive my hydroplane back to the SRF boat club real bad. I said, "be my guest" (chuckling inside :-)  ) and I rode the bus back to the base.