Michael Forman

Michael Forman
Author, Singer, Actor, Photographer. This is where I scratch out things between writing books.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

MH 370 and Outdoor Showers

I've a few photos of the newly tiled bathroom but it's not quite finished. The grouting hasn't been done. Rather than post something half-done I thought I'd send out something that is: The new outdoor shower!

Nice isn't it? It's not all that glamourous but it's completely functional! Well, it's better than crusting-up between bird baths from a bucket!

Six months ago, a plumber said to us we'd need to shut-down the water in the house for a week while the bathroom and kitchen were fitted with the relevant water pipes. Well that wouldn't do. Where would we go for a week? No, we stayed and did the lot ourselves, adding and removing pipes as bits of the house changed, keeping the water going all through the work.

Unfortunately we've only one shower in the home and although we had some use of the new one the moment the other fell, there had to come a time when the area under it remained dry long enough to outfit it with a proper floor. So I wrangled the old copper piping from the demolished shower and strung up a temporary one outside. A green tarp sufficed as a screen. It kind of reminds me of the road trip across and Nullarbor and my sailing experiences on Last Laugh. There was always plenty of sky to take in and just as much cold air to make one appreciate hot water just a little more.

Margo and I don't get to see the beach as often these days. We should. It's healthy and it's close. That's why we chose to live here. A year ago we'd be down there everyday, stretching our legs and taking in the salt air. I must admit, when MH370 came down in March of last year, I believed the west coast of Australia would be the first to receive any flotsam from it. That's our beach! (ok, ours is part of it). So it motivated us to track everything we saw. I kept an eye out offshore as well as turning over any unusual litter we discovered on the beach. 

Two to three months out from the announcement that flight MH370 went missing, Western Australia had a strong easterly blow that lasted for four days. It was so horrible we didn't venture out of our home. What this meant was any or all objects floating west of us would be driven eastward until they landed ashore. At the end of the blow we we outside and found these unusual bits and pieces:

I must say that there were many more pieces that were either unextraordinary or unidentifiable and so I decided not to keep them. As it is, these aren't all that helpful. Nothing says Malaysian Airlines or anyone on any flight. I was hoping for an ID card or a passport or something. We have a lighter with a phone number on it which, when tracking it takes us to an Asian shipping company. That's not unusual because our local port, Perth Port, has a many Asian ships arriving and going each day, passing our coastline all time. That can explain anything that turns up looking asian.

There was a pill bottle (2) but no label on it. The markings (lack of) suggested it was a general pain tablet milled from a second-level country that doesn't adhere to worldwide symbols. But it was a new bottle of tabs. The filler paper at the top didn't look as though anyone had removed it. 

10 is a Soy sauce bottle top. No big deal except it had a few months of calcified growth on it. Remember I mentioned living on a boat? It takes time underwater to get stuff to grow on it!

5 appeared to be what's left of an offshore crayfish trap. I hope it was otherwise it's part of the luggage compartment of a downed flight!

3 and 6 six are still unexplained. The green goo looked like ointment or lip gloss. The barcode hasn't been identified on the faded strip either. I've tried to enhance the code but no luck working out what it relates to.

A nice swan appeared but it really means nothing. Unless it had the kind of growth on it the soy sauce bottle top had it's not in the running. It was too clean, too perfect. My guess is was left on a nearby beach a day or two before I found it.

The glove was old-ish. It looked like old leather but it crumbled like eggshell. A fisherman may have lost it overboard up to a month before I found it. Again, there was not a speck of growth on it. A floating item will show some kind of furry growth even after several weeks on the water. A little deeper will have less. This had none at all. It spent more time ashore than it did in the water!

What have I found since? 

The usual. Burnt planks, sticks, plastic bottle tops, string, rope and crayfish floats. The planks are beach fires washed into the water (or boat fires washing ashore) but none that would point to a plane crash. Until a jet engine washes ashore (or pigs ply) I'm thinking that MH370's flotsam won't wash up on my shore anytime soon... but I'll keep looking! -Michael
My shore...