Jonathon White’s book, Tides, roars in and out like the tides at Lubec. Which is very appropriate, given that the book, subtitled The Science and Spirit of the Ocean, is all about our amazing tides all over the world.
White fills his book with fascinating stories about his worldwide adventures, lots of history, and plenty of science. Yes, something for everyone.
He hooked me in the first chapter, all about the tides in the Bay of Fundy, my favorite place on earth. Linda and I visit Lubec often, where the Bay of Fundy begins, and enjoy watching those magnificent, high, fast-moving tides rush through the narrows between Lubec and Campobello island.
My Mom grew up in Lubec and my great-grandfather was the lighthouse keeper at West Quoddy for 32 years.
White hits another home run with me when he includes birds in this first chapter, specifically the Semipalmated sandpipers that arrive in flocks of many thousands, to feast on mudshrimp. In a 12 hour feasting frenzy, one sandpiper will consume 16,000 mudshrimp. Yup, they love seafood just like me!
As he creeps up on the birds, White notes, “At first I don’t even see bird shapes, and then I realize the entire beach is shimmering with life. Other than a few small patches of sand and rock, the whole beach is a vibrating carpet of tiny, beautiful sandpipers. Thousands of them.”
Linda and I rent a house right behind the South Lubec sandbar in late August every year, to see these sandpipers and other birds migrating north. Our friend and Maine’s top birding guide Bob Duchesne told us years ago that this is the best place to see migrating shorebirds in Maine, and he is so right.
White also writes about climate change and energy opportunities, including a story about tidal power in Passamaquoddy Bay, Eastport, Maine.
His report on the huge tides where the Leaf River pours into Ungava Bay in northern Quebec also brought back fond memories. The Leaf River is my favorite place in the world to fish for brook trout.
White’s fascination with the tides has taken him all around the world, Scotland to Chile, and the arctic to China, where he engages a 25 foot tidal bore that crashes 80 miles up the Qiantang River. He gets way to close to some of these huge tides for me. But, I guess if he wrote the book, he lived to tell us all about it! And I am so glad he did.
From his home on a small island off the coast of the state of Washington, White will visit Maine later this week, to speak at various places throughout the state, including a Friday night event at LL Bean in Freeport. You can see the entire schedule on his website, www.jonathanwhitewriter.com.
Photo: sunset over South Lubec sandbar