Jonathan White speaks on ‘Tides’ at the library

  • Sat Aug 18th, 2018 1:30am
  • Life

Submitted by Griffin Bay Bookstore

Jonathan White’s “Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean” won accolades when it first came out, garnering praise from writers Peter Matthiessen, Thor Hanson and more. Since then, he has gone on to win a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award and the National Outdoor Book Award for Natural History and numerous others. Now “Tides” has been released in paperback and Griffin Bay Bookstore and the San Juan Island Library are providing another chance to hear White talk about the book at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 29 at the library.

Expert mariner and marine conservationist, White’s love for the sea is lifelong. He grew up diving, sailing and fishing on the beaches of Southern California, has logged more than 100,000 miles sailing on the Pacific and Atlantic and has surfed all over the world. In the 1980s, he founded the Resource Institute, a nonprofit educational organization for which he hosted a renowned seminar series aboard Crusader, a 65-foot wooden schooner that sailed the Pacific Northwest. Crusader’s odysseys nearly ended, however, in 1990 when the boat ran aground and was nearly destroyed on a large tide in Alaska’s Kalinin Bay. Shaken and intrigued by his underestimation of tides and their power, White set off on a quest across the globe to understand the history, science and majesty of one of the planet’s most remarkable phenomena.

In “Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean,” White takes readers on a journey of discovery around the globe to witness the largest, fastest, scariest and most amazing tides in the world; he travels to the Arctic to shimmy down a hole in the ice with an Inuit elder to hunt for blue mussels in the dark cavities below; to the Qiantang River in China to witness the Silver Dragon, a 25-foot tidal bore that crashes its way up the 80-mile river; to California to shadow the Mavericks competition where surfers paddle into deadly waves 60 feet high. In France’s Mont St. Michel he learns how the monks were inspired by the tide; at the Royal Society of London, he discovers how Plato and Aristotle, Leonardo de Vinci, Newton, Descartes and many other noted thinkers had been captivated by the tide’s mystery, and learns that the book that led to Galileo’s arrest for heresy by the Catholic Church was a treatise originally called The Flux and Reflux of the Tides.

White also demonstrates how, in this age of drastic global climate shifts, tides offer critical insight into the planet’s future. On the San Blas Islands off the coast of Panama, he explains how the small island archipelago confronts sea level rise, and in Venice, Italy, how the city has been making extraordinary preparations for the coming effects of climate change.

“Tides” combines lyrical prose, colorful adventure travel and provocative scientific inquiry into the elemental, mysterious paradox that keeps the planet’s waters in constant motion.