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Mariner Travels The World To Study Ocean Tides

Author Jonathan White in an undated photo.

Photo by Chris White

Above: Author Jonathan White in an undated photo.

Mariner Travels The World To Study Tides


Jonathan White, author, "Tides"


Living along the Pacific Ocean, many San Diegans are familiar with the rhythm of the tides.

Mariner Jonathan White thought he too knew everything he needed to know about the constant roiling of the sea. But after almost losing his boat in a large Alaskan tide, he set off on a decades-long, worldwide journey to learn more about the ocean's movements.

"When I started my research, I thought I would discover a place, or an event, where one could say, 'This is where the tide begins,'" White said. "But there’s no such thing. The tide is constantly moving. Where it’s receding from one coast, it’s rising on another. All this is orchestrated by the heavens – and in particular by the changing orbital relationships of the earth, sun, and moon. So, in a sense, this is a great dance, performed on a very large dance floor."

White's research led to a new book, "Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean." He will be speaking at the La Jolla Riford Library Saturday at 2p.m.

White joins KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday to discuss Mont St. Michel in France, a monastery which becomes an island during high tides, and other stories from his travels.

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