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After nearly losing his 65-foot schooner Crusader in a strong Alaskan tide, local author Jonathan White vowed to understand these mysterious, implacable sea surges. An avid sailor and surfer, he recognized that the sun and moon have something to do with them, but exactly what? Thus began a decade-long personal odyssey that resulted in his new book, Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean.

On Saturday evening, February 18, White launched this book in an Orcas Currents lecture and reception at Orcas Center. Following the talk, he signed copies of Tides during a reception in the Madrona Room, which included hors d’oeuvres and beverages. Admission to both events was free to all comers, but donations to Orcas Currents are always welcome.

As founder and former director of the Resource Institute, a Seattle nonprofit, White spent eleven years building a seminar program aboard his schooner, which sailed from the Puget Sound to Southeast Alaskan waters. These experiences were recounted in his first book, Talking on the Water, which included interviews with Peter Mattheissen, Lynn Margulis, Gary Snyder and several others. He also served as chair of the Northwest Straits Commission and is a local building contractor.

After his close call with Crusader, White read hundreds of books and reports about the tides. For ten years, he criss-crossed the globe to five continents, witnessing the largest, fastest, scariest, and most amazing tides in the world. This research and his experiences have been incorporated into the book, which he discussed at length.

“Beautifully written, impeccably researched, and filled with unexpected connections and discoveries, Tides is a splendid book, raves Thor Hanson, a 2015 Orcas Currents lecturer and award-winning author of Feathers and The Triumph of Seeds.

With colorful photographs, stories, and short readings, Jonathan White takes audiences on an enthralling journey into the surprising, poetic workings of the tides. His lecture and book will be of great interest to sailors, kayakers, and islanders who are mesmerized by the waters coursing relentlessly back and forth past our rocky shores.

This event was cosponsored by Orcas Open Arts, Orcas Island Library, Darvill’s Bookstore, and Gary and Lynn Green.