The Science and Spirit of the Ocean
Available at Bookstores Everywhere
In Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean, writer, sailor and surfer Jonathan White takes readers across the globe to discover the science and spirit of ocean tides. In the Arctic, he shimmies under the ice with an Inuit elder to hunt for mussels in the dark cavities left behind at low tide; in China, he races the Silver Dragon, a twenty-five foot tidal bore that crashes eighty miles up the Qiantang River; in France, he interviews the monks that live in the tide-wrapped monastery of Mont St. Michel; in Chile and Scotland, he investigates the growth of tidal power generation; and in Panama and Venice, he delves into how the threat of sea level rise is changing human culture – the very old and very new.
“wonderful….travelogue and adventure story” – Host Helen Palmer
“[Jonathan], you write like an angel….lovely, lyrical writing.” – Host Michael Krasny
“marvelous….a grand mix of science history, ocean lore and literary travel writing.” – Michael Upchurch
“a major new book on the importance of the tides.” – Tim Queeney
“[White goes] to some of the wildest corners of the earth….[and] offers a depth of tidal knowledge I could have never imagined.” – Alex Wilson
“shows how the rising sea levels are reshaping our cultures.” – Allen Pierloni
“a fascinating read” – Thomas Urquhart
“evoke[s] authors Bruce Chatwin and Paul Theroux’s musings on the metaphysical aspect of our relationship with nature.” – Jack Shea
“a rare exemplar of the marriage of technical lucidity with stylistic grace….a joy to read” – Alan Littell
With lyrical prose, colorful adventure travel, and provocative scientific inquiry, Tides explores the force that keeps our planet’s waters in constant motion.
Photographs, scientific figures, line drawings and 16 color photos dramatically illustrate this engaging, expert tour of the tides.
Jonathan White provides us in this fine, fascinating book with a clear understanding of the infinitely complex and wild nature of our planet’s tidal forces in all their mystery and beauty. He is to be warmly congratulated.
Let me be clear. This is one of the most fascinating, engaging, relevant, and impeccably brilliant books I have ever read. It has profoundly changed my sense for the earth, the oceans, the sky, and how they are deeply interwoven with the course of human thought and history.
Jonathan White’s tidal explorations drew me in with just the right mix of science, history, and storytelling, propelled throughout by the author’s infectious curiosity and sense of wonder. Beautifully written, impeccably researched, and filled with unexpected connections and discoveries, Tides is a splendid book.
I loved this book. As a physical oceanographer, I understand the tides from a scientific viewpoint. I really enjoyed learning the history of tidal theories, the spiritual meaning the tides have for many people around the world, and how the tides affect so many places in such varied ways. I recommend it to both scientists and non-scientists.
Table of Contents
Foreword: Peter Matthiessen
1. The Perfect Dance
between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, Canada has some of the world’s largest tides. Fundy’s epic mudflats have billions of corophium shrimp - and those shrimp feed millions of Semi-palmated Sandpipers migrating from South America to the Arctic. It’s just one of many complex points of planetary life shaped by the tide.
2. Star of Our Life
3. Silver Dragon
4. The Last Magician
5. Big Waves
6. Fast Water
7. Resonance and Big Tides
8. Turning the Tide
9. Higher Tides
Lukasi Napaaluk climbs under the ice at low tide in the Arctic to gather mussels and other seafood - in the dead of winter.
The Kuna Yala people in Panama are particularly vulnerable to sea level rise.
The tide...is a wave. The author rides a heavy one in Indonesia
A massive tidal bore, coincident with an offshore storm, overwhelms riverside viewers at the Qiantang River, China (Wang Chaoying/Imagechina/AP Images)
Venice routinely floods at high tide. Here, tourists walk on the passarellas in Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy
Billions of Euro are being spent on the MOSE tidal gates, to protect Venice from major storms at high tide.
Fishing boats at low tide in the Bay of Fundy, Canada, where the tidal range is 50 feet.
Ungava Bay, like the Bay of Fundy, has 50+ foot tides because of resonance. The shape of the bays resonates with the tidal influence of the moon.
Tidal friction slows the rotation of the earth...very, very gradually. Skookumchuck Narrows, British Columbia, Canada, contributes a good bit of friction.
Intense daily tidal friction on Hopewell Rocks, Bay of Fundy, has worn away the stone.
Earth's raw tidal power is the equivalent of about 3500 coal plants. We are just beginning to tap it, here at an EMEC site in Scapa Flow, Scotland
A Mont St Michel monk said: "...tides remind people of why they are here on earth. They can be moved by the tide, and then there is is only one more step to being moved by God."
Jonathan enjoys speaking to audiences of all kinds. He has given talks and keynote presentations at museums, aquariums, yacht clubs, government institutions, book clubs, writing conferences, grade schools, bookstores, and universities. In 2017, he will be speaking about Tides at over 60 venues across North America, including the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, the LLBean Discovery Speaker Series, the Port Townsend Northwest Maritime Center, the Maine Audubon Society, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the San Francisco Yacht Club and many others.