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


Fri, March 5

2007—In Bloomington, Ill., Dee Riddle is startled by a meteorite crashing through her bedroom window. 2003—Dixie Chick Natalie Maines says she’s ashamed that George W.[MD] Bush is a Texan. 2001—A Nor’easter begins which will dump 40 inches of snow on New Hampshire’s Rockingham County. 1963—Patsy Cline, singer of “I Fall to Pieces,” dies when her…

Thurs, March 4

2001—Fox broadcasts a “Lone Gunman” show in which U.S. agents remotely hijack an airliner and try to crash it into the World Trade Center. 1987—Ronald Reagan admits trading arms to Iran for hostages. 1964—FBI agents stake out Frank Wilkinson’s home in Los Angeles; they expect the activist to be assassinated, but do not warn him….

Wed, March 3

2016—Donald Trump feels the urge to assert on live television that his genitalia are of adequate proportions. 1991—A troublemaker videotapes Los Angeles Police officers vigorously chastising motorist Rodney King. 1969—An under-manned company of the 4th Division is sent after a crack NVA battalion west of Kontum; result: 47 percent end up KIA or MIA. 1934—John…

Tues, March 2

2004—UN weapons inspectors report that Saddam Hussein didn’t have any WMD after all. Oops. 1991—At Ramaila, Iraq, under future-MSNBC military analyst Barry McCaffrey, the U.S. 24th Infantry Division kills about ten percent of the 7,000-man 1st Hammurabi Armored Division, two days after the Gulf War cease-fire. 1965—The U.S. begins a bombing campaign over North Vietnam,…

Mon, March 1

2002—U.S. forces in Afghanistan begin Operation Anaconda, aimed at capturing or killing Taliban fighters in the Shah-i-kot Valley. The mission starts badly, then gets worse. 1985—President Reagan insults the Founding Fathers, saying the Contras are their “moral  equivalent.” 1978—The late Charlie Chaplin’s tomb is raided by corpse-nappers. 1971—The Weather Underground bombs the U.S. Capitol. 1954—After…

Sun, Feb 28

2003—An ex-gay male escort begins attending White House press briefings with an official pass issued to him under the pseudonym “Jeff Gannon.” 1997—That blue dress gets soiled. 1993—The ATF tries to serve a warrant on a religious community in Waco. It does not go well. 1991—“By God,” says President George Herbert [Hoover] Walker Bush, “we’ve…

Sat, Feb 27

2019—“I fear that if [Trump] loses the election in 2020,” says his ex-lawyer Michael Cohen, “there will never be a peaceful transition of power.” 2014—Senate Republicans block a bill to fund veterans health care because it would cost too much. 2001—Rep. David Vitter [R-La.] skips a House vote honoring 28 Desert Storm KIAs to take…

Fri, Feb 26

2020—“Within a couple of days, it’s going to be down to close to zero. That’s a pretty good job we’ve done.” 2019—Wawarsing, N.Y. cop Harold Nunuvero leaps a fence to escape a charging fox, trips, falls, and shoots himself in the bulletproof vest. 2015—Sen. James Inhofe [R–Okla.] proves global warming is a hoax—or perhaps something…

Thurs, Feb 25

2011—“[A]ny future Defense Secretary who advises the President to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should have his head examined,” says Defense Sec. Gates. 2003—Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki warns that Donald Rumsfeld’s plan to occupy Iraq dramatically underestimates troop requirements. 1968—“I do not…

Wed, Feb 24

2001—“My plan reduces the national debt, and fast,” says G.W.[MD] Bush, “…economists worry that we’re going to run out of debt to retire.” 1989—On United Airlines Flight 811 from Honolulu to New Zealand, nine are sucked out a hole in the plane. 1988—Larry Flynt’s right to portray Jerry Falwell losing his virginity to his mother…

Tues, Feb 23

2016—GOP Senators deny Obama’s Supreme Court nominee a hearing. 2008—Because one maintenance crew fails to warn another that humid air confuses its sensors, a  $1.4 billion B-2 bomber crashes in Guam. 2004—Rod Paige, U.S. Sec. of Education, calls the nation’s largest teachers union a “terrorist organization.” 1974—Days after presiding over his paper’s 100th birthday, and…

Mon, Feb 22

2006—Clarence Thomas asks a question—the last one for 10 years. 2004—A Pentagon document leaks: climate change may spell doom. 1994—The FBI arrests a spy: CIA officer Aldrich Ames. 1974—Samuel Byck, planning to crash an airliner into the White House, carelessly shoots the pilot before takeoff. He’s then shot dead, too. 1967—Operation Junction City begins in…

Sun, Feb 21

2012—Caught by the Piscataqua’s mighty current during construction of the New Memorial Bridge,the tugboat Miss Stacy nearly sinks. 1975—“Original Dick” Nixon’s three top goons, John Mitchell [ex-AG!], Bob Haldeman, and John Erlichman, each get 2 ½ years in the slammer for conspiring—yes, we used that C-word again—to do more than will fit here. 1965—A week…

Sat, Feb 20

1950—Joe McCarthy delivers a five-hour, fact-free rant in the Senate; a four-month investigation ensues. 1945—At Iwo Jima, Jacklyn “Jack” Lucas, 17, dives onto one live grenade and pulls another under him. One goes off, one doesn’t. He sets off metal detectors until dying at 80. 1943—Hollywood embraces Office of War Information censorship. 1939—Fritz Kuhn, a…

Fri, Feb 19

2009—Outraged that the government might assist mere homeowners, CNBC’s Rick Santelli has a fit on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade. His convulsions spawn a Tea Party. 2000—“I understand small business growth,” says George W.[MD] Bush, “I was one.” A growth, we presume. 1988—Prosecutors in Passaic County, N.J. drop the bogus case against…


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.