Editor-in-Chief, Jonathan Cooper, ebbs and flows about a fascinating book on the mystery and science of tides.
On the south side of China’s Yangtze River Delta, there is a local phenomenon that recurs every autumn on the Qiantang River. When the moon is just right and gravity’s pull is just so, a tidal bore works furiously against the river’s current, shipping tidal waves as far as 80 miles upriver. The bore creates fast-moving breaking waves, drawing spectators and thrill-seekers from hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles away to partake in this festival celebrating the wild impact of tides. The tidal bore here is strong, the strongest in the world, but there are only a few places where bores have such impact. The Amazon River, as well as rivers in Sumatra, England, and India all experience tidal bores, but Qiantang’s is the most powerful, resulting in waves that roar across jetties and crash on riverbanks. Naturally, these waves have drawn the interest of surfers ready to pit their skills against a different kind of wave; one surfer even set a record by riding a tidal bore 14 miles without falling.
Jonathan White is a sailor as well as a surfer and watersports enthusiast, but he is also an author who has an obsession with tidal bores as well as all moon-drawn influences that affect the water
on our planet. His book, On Tides: The Sci
ence and Spirit of the Ocean, is part travelogue, part scientific discovery, and most of all, makes the reader respect one of the greatest natural forces on Earth. From the disappearing path that connects northern France’s Mont Saint-Michel to the mainland, to impacts of rising sea levels, White addresses it all with at once a scientific and romantic flair.
On Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean