Podcast Transcript Jun 20, 2024: Beer Spas and Yacht-Smashing Orcas | The Optimist Daily
Today’s Solutions: July 19, 2024
Episode Description

Beer Spas and Yacht-Smashing Orcas

This week’s good news:

Today Karissa dives into a wellness trend that’s gaining popularity in the United States: Beer Spas! Then, Arielle sheds light on new research that may explain why orcas have been targeting (and sometimes even sinking) boats for the past four years.

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Theme music 

00:00:02 Karissa 

Hello and welcome to the Optimist Daily’s weekly roundup. I’m Karissa. 

00:00:06 Arielle 

And I’m Arielle, and we’re working hard to put solutions in view and optimism in movement. 

00:00:12 Karissa 

Hello, welcome back to the podcast. How are you doing today, Arielle? 

00:00:17 Arielle 

I’m pretty tired. Not gonna lie, it was a busy week, but it was really fun as well. I had a friend who really wanted to 

00:00:25 Arielle 

celebrate the summer solstice, so we did that yesterday and had just a nice picnic in the park, and thankfully the Dutch weather cooperated because it’s been kind of gloomy here and like raining on and off for the past couple weeks. But yesterday it was actually really nice and yeah, that was good because he had been planning this picnic for a while.

00:00:47 Arielle & Karisa  


00:00:48 Karissa 

Yeah, glad the weather worked out for a perfect summer solstice day. 

00:00:52 Arielle 

And you have how have you been this week? 

00:00:54 Karissa 

Well, also tired. I think before we started recording we were yawning back and forth a little bit but yeah, this week was kind of my first full week being settled into, you know, full work mode because the past couple weeks have been vacation, trips, and graduations. 

00:01:12 Karissa 

So, you know, very tiring then kind of like focusing on my computer all day has been a little bit tiring because it’s been a minute since I’ve had a full week of that! 

00:01:21 Arielle 

Mmhm, yeah, you gotta settle into it again. 

00:01:23 Karissa 

It is kind of nice, though I’m glad to be focused and feel like I’m getting a lot of stuff done. But yeah, the weather here has been pretty warm. It’s going to be pretty hot this weekend…

00:01:32 Arielle 


00:01:33 Karissa  

…but there’s also a fire going on nearby, so that’s a little scary it’s been a little smoky out. 

00:01:37 Arielle 

Oh no!

00:01:39 Karissa 

It’s that time in California. 

00:01:41 Arielle 

Yeah. Oh, man, I feel bad for complaining about the rain. 

00:01:46 Karissa 

Well anyways, I guess that kind of brings you to my solution in a sense, because I would say people might be stressed out from the weather and want to relax, but…  

00:01:56 Arielle  


00:01:57 Karissa 

I don’t know…  

00:01:58 Arielle 

Alright! I’m very intrigued. What is your solution? What’s the title? 

00:02:03 Karissa 

So my solution is called: Beer spas are a frothy new wellness trend taking over the USA. This one really stuck out to me because I love a good wellness trend, for one, and beer spas is so interesting. 

00:02:09 Arielle 


00:02:18 Karissa 

I’ll get into it. This unique European ritual has really captured Americans, and it’s resulted in a thriving industry of beer spas across the country. 

00:02:27 Arielle 

Um… yeah, I don’t know how I feel about dunking myself into a tub of beer. 

00:02:33 Arielle & Karissa 


00:02:34 Arielle 

Well, I’m actually gluten intolerant, so I think that would be really bad for me personally. 

00:02:40 Karissa 

(laughing) Yeah. 

00:02:41 Arielle 

But I can think of a lot of friends of mine who would dive into that right away. 

00:02:44 Karissa 

Away. Yeah, it’s an interesting concept, but your spas aren’t quite beer. They’re not just beer like in a large bathtub or anything, so don’t worry, it’s a little bit different. It’s not drinkable beer. 

00:02:57 Arielle 

Ohh OK. 

00:02:59 Karissa 

Instead, the baths are made using a combination of hops, yeast, and malts that is free of alcohol. So it’s kind of like the ingredients of beer but inactive.  

00:03:08 Karissa 

And then hops. If you don’t know, because I didn’t know what hops are… 

00:03:11 Karissa 

They are the flowers of a plant used for beer and it helps keep beer fresher for longer and it helps beer retain its head of foam, which is a key component of the beers’ aroma and the flavor and the bitterness.  

00:03:25 Arielle 


00:03:29 Karissa 

So yeah, this is one of the unique thing. And you know, they initially appeared in the Czech Republic in the 1980s, as a unique variation of a standard spa treatment. 

00:03:35 Karissa 

These spas offer customers to soak in tubs filled with beer or its constituents, such as like we were talking about, the hops, yeast and malts. And proponents of this wellness trend claim a variety of health benefits, including skin exfoliation, reduced inflammation and relief from skin disorders.  

00:03:52 Arielle 

Ohh wow. 

00:03:57 Karissa 

Despite minimal scientific support the attractiveness of beer spas continues to rise. 

00:03:59 Arielle 

Interesting. I’m not surprised that it came from the Czech Republic. I haven’t heard of beer spas, but when I went to Prague, I did notice that like beer is a huge thing there (laughter). 

00:04:13 Karissa 

They had to find something to do with it! (laughter). So, in the United States right now, the classic European bathhouse atmosphere has been turned into this opulent spa center of beer spas. So you can kind of imagine, like, individual rooms with handcrafted wooden baths, peaceful lighting, relaxing music and plenty of plush bathrobes and towels.   

00:04:34 Arielle 

Sounds nice. 

00:04:35 Karissa 

Yeah! The first beer spa in the United States debuted in Sisters OR in 2016, which, that makes sense. That seems like a place that it would be, but it’s now closed. 

00:04:45 Karissa 

But if you’re in the United States, there are new venues such as My Beer Spa in Orlando, Pivo Beer Spa in Chicago, Oakwell Beer Spa in Denver, and Beer Bath in Skyville, Maryland. The beer spas like I was talking about earlier aren’t necessarily just have to be just be beers poured into a bathtub.  

00:05:06 Karissa 

But you can, however, sip a refreshing beer while you’re in the bathtub of the beer-like substance, which really adds to the thematic experience. 

00:05:13 Karissa 

For beer lovers, I’m sure this would be super cool. 

00:05:14 Arielle 

Yeah, kind of like a novelty thing to do as well. 

00:05:17 Karissa 

Yeah. And, you know, beer spas are said to offer similar health benefits to standard spa treatments. I was kind of thinking about, like, you know, there’s, like, mud baths and things like that. And I know, like, those have… those have benefits and stuff too. But I’m like, it has to be a similar concept. 

00:05:33 Arielle 

Yeah, I guess so. And I’ve heard of people washing their hair in apple cider vinegar. 

00:05:38 Arielle 

Which also doesn’t have like… 

00:05:38 Karissa 


00:05:40 Arielle 

…the best smell, in my opinion, because I’m just thinking like once you leave the beer bath, you kind of just smell like a frat house. But… (laughter)

00:05:43 Karissa 

(laughter) yeah, exactly. 

00:05:45 Arielle 

But maybe not! I don’t know. 

00:05:56 Karissa 

Who knows? I’m very curious. So I think like the main point of sharing this article is that, 

00:06:00 Karissa 

I really want to go to one now because I wanna know… 

00:06:02 Arielle 

Yeah, you’re curiosity is piqued. 

00:06:06 Karissa 

Like I said earlier, it’s not super scientifically proven, but the hops, barley and (inaudible) extracts are thought to contain polyphenols with antioxidant qualities that benefit skin health.  

00:06:16 Arielle 

Hmm, OK. 

00:06:17 Karissa 

And barley’s epidermal growth factor protein may improve skin look, and the vitamin blend can moisturize and condition hair. So, you know, even though these claims should be interpreted with caution, there is some scientific evidence to support the skin benefits of these compounds. 

00:06:30 Karissa 

But, long story short, one benefit that is guaranteed to come out of these beer spas is relaxation. And relaxation. I think, is one solution we all need. No matter what. 

00:06:41 Karissa 

I am a big proponent of relaxing.  

00:06:42 Arielle 

Yeah, chilling.  

00:06:42 Karissa 

Yeah. Hops have a slight sedative effect that encourages sleep, and their perfume can add to the calming mood of the spa. So, these experiences are often frequently enhanced by one-of-a-kind chilling zones, complete with hay mattresses. 

00:06:45 Arielle 


00:07:02 Karissa 

And so, while it may appear kind of odd it contributes to the rustic appeal of the beer spa experience. 

00:07:08 Arielle 

OK, I like the theme. It’s a consistent, cohesive theme throughout. How much does it cost? 

00:07:15 Karissa 

So it’s a lot more expensive than just your regular 6 pack of beer, because the packages typically begin around $100 for a one hour or so.  

00:07:27 Arielle 


00:07:28 Karissa 

But for individuals looking for an alternative wellness therapy, the possible health advantages and unique experiences may be worth the cost.  

00:07:33 Karissa 

So yeah, I think it’s cool and definitely a conversation starter, I’m sure. 

00:07:39 Arielle 

And it is like… the price point is kind of just like a regular spa, so… 

00:07:41 Karissa 

Yeah, that’s pretty typical for, I think, like a massage. Yeah, a spa day massage so. 

00:07:47 Arielle 

Yeah, maybe just, uh, if any of our listeners are regular spa goers or they frequent their uh bath house or whatever, then maybe just switch it out for a beer spa next time and see how you feel. I don’t know if I’ll be going. 

00:08:00 Arielle & Karissa 


00:08:03 Arielle 

Just because I might accidentally drink some! 

00:08:10 Arielle 

But yeah, I’m gonna ask my Czech friends if they’ve ever gone because I do have a few who actually live in Prague. And in that area, they’re like, Czech in Slovak and, yeah, maybe they have some insights for me. But yeah, I am very curious. It’s a… it’s a funny one. 

00:08:25 Karissa 

This is just one of those funny ones that made me smile this week for our solution. So yeah, even though there’s not one in California yet it appears, or I didn’t see one on this list, I’ll be patiently awaiting. 

00:08:36 Arielle 

Yeah, maybe. Uh, maybe one of our listeners will open one. It’s a gap in the market (laughter). 

00:08:40 Karissa 

And then yeah, another hot tip too is that this is a rising trend, so. 

00:08:46 Arielle 

(laughter). All right. Well, the story that I picked this week is also kind of like a curiosity buster. There’s no really graceful segue, but I’m tackling what I think is a really interesting topic that combines marine biology and playful animals and also some pretty baffled boat owners 

00:09:04 Karissa 


00:09:05 Arielle 

The… the title is: Orcas are smashing boats… Researchers finally think they know the truth behind this trend. So Karissa, I’m sure… I’m sure you’ve heard about the orcas that have been, like, ramming into and sinking boats in European waters for the past four years. 

00:09:24 Arielle 

Does that ring a bell? 

00:09:25 Karissa 

Yeah, I’ve definitely heard about this and this has kind of been on the forefront of my mind lately too, because when I was in Hawaii a few weeks ago. 

00:09:33 Karissa 

We were on a boat snorkeling tour. 

00:09:35 Karissa 

Our tour guide was talking about… cuz. I think people were talking like are there sharks and stuff when we go snorkeling? 

00:09:40 Arielle 


00:09:41 Karissa 

She was like, I mean, there could be, but they’re not like dangerous ones. But what you really have to worry about… some of the most scary, but like smart predators that there are are orcas. And we were talking about the boat situation, so. 

00:09:52 Arielle 

I mean they they are called killer whales as well. So that’s a clue.  

00:10:06 Karissa 


00:10:06 Arielle 

These incredibly intelligent creatures, as you mentioned, they are very smart. They have been causing quite a stir. For a while, scientists were confused, and they were trying to figure out why these orcas were behaving so aggressively and there was a rumor going around that one of… 

00:10:16 Arielle 

…One of these yachts, or one of the boats, struck a female orca and she was injured and like, obviously upset about it, and the rumor is that she started telling her peers to ram into similar boats out of vengeance. 

00:10:29 Karissa 


00:10:31 Arielle 

Which is, um, I don’t know. It’s kind of like… 

00:10:33 Arielle 

…I think of vengeance as such a human trait. So yeah, I think, uh, we are, as a species, really prone to putting human-like emotions or experiences on to other animals. It is a very interesting narrative. But now recent research suggests. 

00:10:53 Arielle 

These orcas are just playing around. 

00:10:55 Karissa 

Oh my gosh, that’s so crazy. Just playing around! 

00:10:58 Karissa 

I think it’s also just like, one of those things, like wow, they know how to play around. But as we have explored on The Optimist Daily is that there’s a lot of creatures out there, a lot of animals and insects too that actually enjoy the good act of playing. 

00:11:14 Arielle 

I mean, there’s like joy to life, and humans aren’t the only ones who have a good time with each other. So yeah, it sounds kind of crazy but, after a lot of investigation, a team of biologists, government officials and marine sector experts came to this fascinating conclusion. 

00:11:31 Arielle 

The orcas’ actions are not driven by aggression or vengeance or territorial disputes. 

00:11:37 Arielle 

Instead, it’s all about young orcas being playful and curious. 

00:11:42 Karissa 

So it’s kind of like when kids just get into mischief because they’re bored. 

00:11:46 Arielle 

Yeah, exactly. There are about 40 severely endangered Iberian killer whales in the region, and they’ve been enjoying an abundance of blue fish tuna. And that’s also thanks to the region’s, impressive tuna recovery. But with climate change playing a role, the tuna is available year round in the Gulf of Cadíz, 

00:12:06 Arielle 

Meaning that the orcas don’t have to hunt as much, and this leaves them with more free time to, like, have fun or indulge in… 

00:12:16 Arielle 

“Hobbies,” let’s say. 

00:12:19 Karissa 

I love it. Whale hobbies. 

00:12:21 Arielle 

Yeah. So the study focused on a core group of 15 orcas, mainly male juveniles. 

00:12:26 Arielle 

And… and like, I guess you could call them teens who have been identified as the main culprits. And these young orcas are known for being the most curious and exploratory. So, they’ve developed a habit of colliding with boat rudders. 

00:12:40 Arielle 

And initially this was pretty harmless because yeah, they weren’t as big as they are now, but it has become more problematic as the orcas have grown larger and stronger. But interestingly, no orcas over the age of 25 have been seen doing this, indicating that it’s like a youthful thing. 

00:13:00 Karissa 

Yeah, kind of like rebellious teenagers causing trouble (laughing). 

00:13:04 Karissa 

But I want to know why are they targeting boats with their play? 

00:13:07 Arielle 

Yeah. Well, orcas are known to play with objects or animals in their environment, sometimes to the point of damaging them. They just don’t know their strength I guess. This isn’t the first time orcas have exhibited similar behavior. In Washington, USA, orcas have been known to quote UN quote play with harbor porpoises, sometimes hurting them, or killing them in the process.

00:13:34 Karissa 

Ohh yeah… I guess you know, they’re just really curious and playful creatures. 

00:13:41 Karissa 

How does the behavior spread among them? Because they’re kind of like learning from each other? 

00:13:45 Arielle 

Yeah. So, orcas are incredibly social and they can adopt and spread behaviors within their groups like much like viral fads among humans. So, for instance, in 1987, a female orca in the Pacific was seen carrying a dead salmon… 

00:14:01 Arielle 

…On her head. And this behavior quickly spread to the other pods before it, like, kind of faded away.  

00:14:12 Karissa 

I see. 

00:14:13 Arielle 

So, it was like a fad of wearing a dead salmon as a hat. So it’s kind of like fashion. But the current trend of boat bumping can be seen in a similar way. So, yeah. 

00:14:20 Karissa 

I see! In every species, you know, there has to be a leader and a follower, of course. It’s really cool, but it’s a little bit scary, cuz what about the humans affected by this playful behavior even more now? 

00:14:48 Arielle 

And also like back in the 80s, the salmon.  

00:14:50 Karissa 

Yeah, exactly! (Laughter) 

00:14:52 Arielle

As you say, for humans, it’s… It’s more than just a playful bump. Since 2020, the Atlantic Orca Working Group has recorded 673 incidents between orcas and boats with at least four of those boats sinking. 

00:14:54 Arielle 

And um, just a few weeks ago, orcas repeatedly struck the 49-foot yacht Alboran Cognac in the Strait of Gibraltar, sinking it after the passengers and crew were rescued. So, no one was hurt other than the yacht. 

00:15:07 Karissa 

Yeah. I mean, that’s good they’re all saved. But this all sounds really serious. What are authorities doing about it? Because, this is, you know… an issue. 

00:15:17 Arielle 

Yeah. Uh, authorities are definitely on alert. The Spanish Marine Rescue Service, SASEMAR, has warned boat owners to stay close to shore and avoid anchoring in high risk areas. 

00:15:29 Arielle 

But, unfortunately, you can’t really have a foolproof strategy for dealing with these, um, fun interactions without harming the whales or damaging the boats. 

00:15:42 Karissa 

Yeah, that’s kind of a complicated situation. 

00:15:45 Arielle 

I guess the key points to take away from this are that these encounters are not hostile, so they shouldn’t really be seen as attacks. Even if you know boats are getting damaged, humans are at risk. It’s not like a hostile action that these orcas are taking, and the consensus among experts is that… 

00:16:04 Arielle 

As we said before, the interactions are more about play and socializing. Yeah. So a quotation from the experts is that the interactions between Iberian killer whales and vessels are not aggressive. 

00:16:16 Karissa 

It sounds like we just kind of need to understand the whales better and find ways to coexist because after all, we are, you know, invading their territory, in a way, even though, as we said, it’s not really territorial this issue. 

00:16:30 Arielle 

Yeah, but we’re in their space. 

00:16:31 Karissa 

Yeah, we’re in their space, so you know. 

00:16:34 Karissa 

You can’t, like, invade someone’s playspace. That’s just not right!  

00:16:37 Arielle 

…And not expect to get played with!  

00:16:40 Karissa 

Yeah! This is just so interesting. It’s just so fascinating how intelligent whales are and, like so many creatures. 

00:16:48 Arielle 

Umm yeah, there’s a lot of animal intelligence out there that we don’t understand. Well, I think now we’re finally trying to understand animal intelligence on their own standards instead of putting 

00:17:02 Arielle 

Human ideas of intellect onto animals, because that’s just not going to work, you know, with ongoing research and monitoring, we hope to gain more insights into the orcas and reduce risks and foster better cooperation between humans and these amazing sea creatures because we do all live on this planet together, and we’re going to have to figure out how to, uhm, do that peacefully. 

00:17:24 Karissa 

I’m glad they found the reason. The reason is pretty innocent. 

00:17:28 Karissa 

But yeah, it’s definitely going to lead to better insight into what like you said, Arielle, what we can do to peacefully coexist so. 

00:17:35 Arielle 

I guess uh, that’s it for us this week. That was a great roundup of solutions. 

00:17:40 Karissa 

And we have some other great solutions from the week that you can find on our website optimistdaily.com including:  

00:17:47 Arielle 

Sex education for incarcerated men in California. Planned Parenthood’s new approach. 

00:17:53 Arielle 

Do kids and adults really need different sunscreens? An expert weighs in. Oh, I hadn’t thought about that actually. 

00:18:00 Karissa 

Yeah, me either. I’ll have to read that one. 

00:18:02 Arielle 

Finland’s free contraception initiative reduces teen abortions by 66%. Cancer therapy breakthrough: X-rays expose and exterminate brain tumor cells with precision. 

00:18:13 Karissa 

Yeah. And then we also have: Easy steps for firm and smooth-looking legs. 

00:18:20 Karissa 

Insect migration: The hidden superhighway of the Pyrenees. 

00:18:24 Karissa 

The rainbow flag, an evolving symbol of LGBTQIA+ pride.  

00:18:29 Arielle 

Oh yeah, it’s pride month! 

00:18:30 Karissa 

Yes, Happy Pride Month if we haven’t mentioned it before! 

00:18:34 Karissa 

And attention gardeners, here’s how to prepare your garden for summer heat waves. I feel like we have a very summary round-up this week. 

00:18:40 Arielle 

OK, well, if you want to start your day off right, make sure to subscribe to our free daily newsletter to get our solutions straight to your inbox. 

00:18:48 Karissa 

And we also have more on our social channels. You can find us @OptimistDaily on all of our platforms, including Threads and Pinterest, and the only difference is on X where we’re known as @OdeToOptimism. 

00:18:59 Arielle 

We are a small team of optimists working hard to bring you positive news. If you want to support our mission of putting optimism into the world, please click on the link in the show notes to find out how you can do that. 

00:19:10 Karissa 

Support doesn’t always have to be financial. Even just recommending our podcast or friend, leaving a positive review on Apple or Spotify, forwarding a link to a loved one, sharing a solution to your socials, anything would be a really big help of putting our mission out there. 

00:19:24 Arielle 

All right, well. Karissa, I hope you have a great weekend and I wish the same for all of our listeners. 

00:19:30 Karissa 

Yeah, I hope you do too, Arielle, and we’ll be back next time with more solutions. Bye! 


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