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Admiral Fowle’s Piscataqua River Tidal Guide
(Not for Navigational Purposes)


Sat, April 17

2013—A fertilizer plant located next to a middle school in West, Texas, uninspected since 1985, blows up. Fifteen are killed, mostly volunteer firemen, 250 others are injured. 2002—G.W.[MD] Bush flip-flops again, vowing to rebuild Afghanistan. 1986—Peace is declared between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly, ending a bloodless 335-year war. 1981—The Supreme Court rules…

Fri, April 16

2008—“Thank you, your holiness,” George W.[MD] Bush says to Pope Benedict, “Awesome speech.” 1992—Afghanistan’s commie President Najibullah resigns, making way for a more enlightened government. 1992—The House Ethics Committee—no laughing, please—releases the names of 303 check-kiting Reps. 1969—Rev. Billy Graham advises Nixon: bomb North Vietnam’s dikes; estimated casualties: 1 million. 1963—Martin Luther King, Jr., writes…

Thurs, April 15

2015—Ex-postal worker Doug Hughes lands a gyrocopter on the White House lawn with 535 letters to Congress: overturn Citizens United. 2015—In Zimbabwe, big-game hunter and Texan Ian Gibson is crushed to death by an elephant. 2013—Two bombs explode near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. 2003—George W.[MD] Bush installs Gen. Jay Garner to administer…

Wed, April 14

2006—Six  retired generals sign an Op-Ed calling on Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to resign. 2004—Attorney General John Ashcroft blames Bill Clinton for terrorist attacks that took place seven months after Clinton left office. 1999—Dan Quayle throws his little propeller beanie into the ring. 1994—Over Iraq, U.S. fighter jets shoot down two U.S. helicopters. 1988—An…

Tues, April 13

2002—Venezuelans overrule the generals and their CIA advisors; Hugo Chavez is restored to the Presidency. 1981—Rep. Jon Hinson (R-Miss.) resigns three months after being arrested for attempting to commit oral sodomy in a House restroom. He becomes an advocate for gay rights. 1970—The Apollo 13 moon shot lives up to its numeral. 1962—Rachel Carson’s Silent…

Mon, April 12

2007—The George W.[MD] Bush White House says official emails about the dubious firing of eight U.S. Attorneys—among five million sent via private RNC servers—are “lost.” 2001—Veep Dick “Dick” Cheney files his 2000 return; 14% of his adjusted gross came from Halliburton. 1937—Sixty thousand U.S. students demonstrate against war. 1933—In Oakland, brothers George and William Besler…

Sun, April 11

2007—Auf weidersehen, Kurt V. 2006—At the Washington Nationals home opener, the ceremonial first pitch is thrown by Vice President Dick “Dick” Cheney, who is greeted with jeers and catcalls. 2002—Venezuelan generals replace elected President Hugo Chavez with CIA-approved Pedro Carmona. 1985—Press Secretary Larry Speakes says Ronald Reagan will lay a wreath at Bitburg, where American…

Sat, April 10

2018—Goldman Sachs warns clients of a downside to gene therapy: there is no cash flow from a cured patient. 2017—The State Street Saloon burns. 2005—Huge mobs of Iraqis mark the 2nd anniversary of Saddam Hussein’s fall, shouting “No, No to Satan!” and demanding that U.S. troops leave. 1972—Crooked financier Robert Vesco slips $200,000 to Nixon’s…

Fri, April 9

2018—Other networks report that the FBI raided the office of President Trump’s lawyer; Fox reports that pandas—a non-native species, let’s recall—are aggressive and sex-crazed. 2006—“Scooter” Libby says “W” OK’d leaks of secret CIA intel. 1967—“We appeal to North Vietnam,” says a veteran-bought ad in the N.Y. Times, “if they really want peace, to stop bombing…

Thurs, April 8

2018—Fox “News” accidentally broadcasts a graphic showing results of a poll: Fox is the least-trusted network. 1984—R. Nixon gripes, “It’s the media’s responsibility to examine the President with a microscope…but when they use a proctoscope, it’s going too far.” 1974—Hank Aaron breaks Ruth’s homer record; death threats ensue. 1956—USMC recruits are marched into a Parris…

Wed, April 7

2013—A new heel is inducted into the professional wrestling Hall of Fame: bankrupt blowhard Donald J. Trump. 2003—U.S. troops take Baghdad. It is a great victory. 1990—Once and future Bush appointee John Poindexter is found guilty of multiple Iran/Contra felonies; he later wriggles out on appeal. 1972—’Nam vet Richard McCoy, Jr. hijacks a 727 with…

Tues, April 6

2016—For each of the 29 miners killed in his death trap, coal mine owner Don Blankenship is sentenced to serve 12.5 days in jail. 2009—A year before it blows up, BP’s Deepwater Horizon gets relief from oppressive federal over-regulation. 1992—Donald E. Harding gasps, moans, and makes obscene hand gestures for five minutes before dying in…

Mon, April 5

2014—Jack Kimball, ex-Chairman of N.H.’s GOP, calls upon Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio to put President Obama “in an orange suit…and drag his butt out of that White House.” 2010—W.Va.’s non-union Upper Big Branch coal mine explodes, killing 29 miners. After a year in prison, its owner, Don Blankenship, will run for the U.S. Senate as…

Sun, April 4

1989—In her Porsche, reaching for her cellphone while speeding to the bank she owns, Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton hits and kills Oleta Hardin, a 50 year-old Arkansas cannery worker. Walton is not charged. 1984—Congress nixes Contra funding. President Reagan sells arms to the Ayatollah to make up the difference. 1975—Operation Babylift begins with a C-5A…

Sat, April 3

2014—Sen. Jerry Moran [R-Kan.], whose top contributor is Koch Industries, reads into the Congressional Record a Wall Street Journal op-ed in which Charles Koch defends his right to spend millions buying elections. 2004—Asked to name his biggest mistake, George W.[MD] Bush is unable to supply an answer. 2003—U.S. Marines cross the Tigris River on their…


Portsmouth, arguably the first town in this country not founded by religious extremists, is bounded on the north and east by the Piscataqua River, the second, third, or fourth fastest-flowing navigable river in the country, depending on whom you choose to believe.

The Piscataqua’s ferocious current is caused by the tide, which, in turn, is caused by the moon. The other player is a vast sunken valley — Great Bay — about ten miles upriver. Twice a day, the moon drags about seventeen billion gallons of seawater — enough to fill 2,125,000 tanker trucks — up the river and into Great Bay. This creates a roving hydraulic conflict, as incoming sea and the outgoing river collide. The skirmish line moves from the mouth of the river, up past New Castle, around the bend by the old Naval Prison, under Memorial Bridge, past the tugboats, and on into Great Bay. This can best be seen when the tide is rising.

Twice a day, too, the moon lets all that water go. All the seawater that just fought its way upstream goes back home to the ocean. This is when the Piscataqua earns its title for xth fastest current. Look for the red buoy, at the upstream end of Badger’s Island, bobbing around in the current. It weighs several tons, and it bobs and bounces in the current like a cork.

The river also has its placid moments, around high and low tides. When the river rests, its tugboats and bridges work their hardest. Ships coming in laden with coal, oil, and salt do so at high tide, for more clearance under their keels. They leave empty, riding high in the water, at low tide, to squeeze under Memorial Bridge.