Sunday, January 21, 2007

Diver Down-Unbelievably

Brrr. 6 degrees at wake up this morning with a wind chill of -9. Windows are frosted over, pipes have frozen again, the house has a bit of a chill and it begs me to make a fire and curl up with the Sunday papers.

And so I do and the first thing that catches my eye is an article in the Portsmouth Herald about the divers repairing the cable underneath the Middle Bridge over the Piscataqua River. The Piscataqua is the third fastest flowing navigable river in the United States, and one of only two rivers to have a permanent Coast Guard presence--partially because of the importance of the harbor, but more because of the difficulties the currents and tides cause in the river basin.

So not only are these divers battling the bone-chilling winds and cold above the water, but they are battling the intensity of the tides, which they compare to a washing machine during the lulls and a hurricane when the river flows:

"You weight yourself down as much as possible and it's not enough," said Reis. "As soon as the tide shifts, it literally peels you off the wall. You can barely hold on. You're holding on with both hands and you're literally flapping like a flag in the breeze."

Seacoastonline has a terrific slide show complete with narration and sound effects.

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