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


Sat, May 21

2016—In Houston, hundreds rally to support Islam. Hundreds more rally, armed, to oppose it. All have been duped by a Russian troll farm. 2010—Fox’s Glenn Beck claims “a good portion” of Americans were glad when Franklin D. Roosevelt died. 2001—GAO refutes the GOP: Dems didn’t vandalize the White House. 1981—The Senate OKs $20 billion to…

Fri, May 20

2009—The FBI entraps four Muslim men in a bogus Bronx bomb plot. 2004—U.S. and Iraqi troops raid the home and offices of Ahmed Chalabi, formerly the neo-cons’ most trusted source of Iraqi intelligence. 1989—RIP, Gilda Radner. 1978—Mavis Hutchinson, 53, makes New York City after running across America for 69 days. 1973—The Camden 28, who broke…

Thurs, May 19

2017—Big game hunter Theunis Botha, 51, dies in Zimbabwe when an elephant shot by a client falls on him. 1956—A 15-megaton bomb test in the South Pacific raises radiation levels in the U.S. to 10 times normal. 1954—The U.S.P.O. OKs a CIA mail-opening project. 1953—Fallout from our dirtiest-ever nuke test, Upshot-Knothole Harry, hits St. George,…

Wed, May 18

1992—The 27th Amendment, barring any Congress from raising its own pay, is ratified after a 202 year process. 1982—Sun Myung Moon, a Reverend, is now a convicted tax cheat, too. 1980—Korean students in Gwangju, protesting closure of their university, are beaten and shot by paratroopers. 1980—Mount St. Helens cuts loose for the first time in…

Tues, May 17

2017—Learning his election will be investigated for Russian involvement, President Trump says, “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m [bleeped].” Sadly, no. 1987—Its weapons officer away from his duty station, its Phalanx gun operator absent “on personal business,” and its radar countermeasure system unarmed, the frigate U.S.S. Stark…

Mon, May 16

2017—As President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan looks on approvingly, two dozen goons attack peaceful protestors outside the Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C. Four are arrested, but all charges are dropped. 2001—Ex-FBI Special Agent, devout Catholic, patron of strippers, and amateur exhibitionist Robert Hanssen is indicted for selling U.S. secrets to the U.S.S.R., then the Russians. 1974—Bill…

Sun, May 15

2002—The White House admits it knew before 9/11 that al-Qaeda had plans to hijack U.S. airliners. 2001—Two engineers in a locomotive chase and stop an unmanned train full of hazardous chemicals after it rolled 66 miles across Ohio at high speeds. 1991—The Pentagon confirms: Manuel Noriega was on the CIA payroll. 1975—Some Marines retake the…

Sat, May 14

2019—Joe Biden predicts that with Trump out of the White House, “You will see an epiphany occur among many of my Republican friends.” 2015—The Union Leader’s editorial, in full: “Frank Guinta is a damned liar.” 1992—The George H.[H.]W. Bush administration opens up 1,400 acres of spotted owl habitat for logging. 1987—Robert “Bud” McFarlane tells Congress…

Fri, May 13

2015—The day after eight die in a Philadelphia derailment, Congress votes to slash Amtrak’s budget. 2005—A Pentagon commission recommends closing the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. 1985—A Philadelphia police helicopter bombs MOVE headquarters, killing 11 and leaving 250 homeless. 1971—President Nixon tells his flunkies to get a new IRS head: “a ruthless son of a bitch ……

Thurs, May 12

2015—An FEC report says that after denying wrongdoing for years, Rep. Frank Guinta [R-N.H.] has agreed to repay an illegal $355K campaign loan and pay a $15K fine to boot. 1996—Sec. of State Madeleine Albright tells Lesley Stahl on “60 Minutes” that sanctions killing 500,000 children in Iraq is “a very hard choice, but ……

Wed, May 11

2012—The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission finds George W.[MD] Bush, Dick “Dick” Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Tony Blair and others guilty of war crimes. 2009—Ex-Gov. J. Ventura says, “You give me a water board, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I’ll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders.” 2006—USA Today reports that the NSA is…

Tues, May 10

2017—President Trump meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office. He divulges classified info, exposes a foreign agent, and says firing the FBI Director relieved “great pressure” from him. 1945—New Hampshire adopts the Stark motto, “Live Free or Die.” 1919—In Charleston, S.C., white sailors foment the first…

Mon, May 9

2017—D. Trump fires J. Comey. 1999—At the University of Chicago, two students competing in a scavenger hunt build a plutonium-producing reactor. They come in second. 1991—Bush aide John Sununu is told to quit using military planes to see his Boston dentist and ski in N.H. 1989—“What a waste it is to lose one’s mind,” says…

Sun, May 8

1979—Salvadoran police maintain order in a cathedral; 23 KIA, 70 WIA. 1970—With flags at half mast for Kent State kids shot by National Guardsmen, students protesting in NYC at Wall and Broad streets are attacked by 200 “hardhats” organized by AFL-CIO leader Peter Brennan. Nixon will make him Sec. of Labor. 1970—At the University of…

Sat, May 7

1999—A U.S. B-2 drops five “smart” bombs on the Chinese embassy in Belgrade: three dead, 27 wounded. 1998—Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan successfully quash an effort to regulate credit default swaps. 1992—Reporters reveal Ross Perot’s “concern” over U.S. POWs was mostly about Richard Nixon’s presidency. 1985—New York throws a ticker…


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.