Blue Thursday

Wallace J. Nichols has explored water through a book, a scientist collective, a book club, an annual award and a summit getaway.

Dr. Wallace J. Nichols is like Jane Goodall or Indiana Jones – an adventurer-scientist-academic driven by single-minded mission. Nichols’ mission is water – in the form of the ocean, rivers, swimming pools, kitchen taps – and the incarnation of that is a concept he calls Blue Mind.

“[It’s] this universal response to how we feel when we are near or under water,” he says. “I’m not talking about water leaking from the ceiling or flooding your state, but the calming effect. When we want to take a break, hold a special event – a wedding, a memorial service – we often go to the water.”

He’s talking the emotional, therapeutic and creative value of water.

On Tuesday, Jan. 16, he launched multi-day local workshops called the Blue Mind Experience, which offer attendees an itinerary of expert panels, research projects, field trips, open water swims, a museum visit and journaling. The cost: about $1,000.

“I wish I had sponsors to make it free but we don’t,” he says.

But one of the events is nearly free and packed with oceanic wisdom: Blue Mind Book Talks with Tamales + Tequila. There, you can find, talk to, and get book signings from authors Jaimal Yogis (Saltwater BuddhaThe Fear Project), James Nestor (Deep), and David Helvarg (Saved by the SeaThe Golden Shore).

Nichols will moderate a discussion with these ocean-faring men that should be an immersion into the ocean as science, as habitat, as recreation, as spiritual destination. Plus, tamales and tequila? C’mon now.

Walter Ryce has been an arts writer, calendar editor, culture columnist, sometime photographer, and one-time web content coordinator for the Monterey County Weekly. He began working at the paper, which is based in his hometown of Seaside, in 2007.

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