Aquatic Life: 5
Debris, Boulder Pile / Shelves
A popular Tacoma Narrows Bridge dive is to locate one, or some, of the large cement mooring blocks that were used to hold cranes and barges in place during the construction of the bridge. These rectangular blocks are massive cement structures that have a vague appearance of semi truck trailers when encountered underwater. They run parallel to the bridges and perpendicular to shore. Underneath these blocks are many large caverns that house some very large lingcod, giant octopus, wolf eels and other denizens.
There are many blocks below the bridge at both ends but the most easily accessed are a series of the blocks on the east side side under the bridges ranging from 40-80' deep. A popular way to dive them is to drift into them during a very mild current near slack.
Enter the water near shore in about 20-30' deep water and descend to 60-70' until you encounter a block and then explore upwards from that point. Make sure you are upstream far enough that you can get to your desired depth before reaching the bridge, but not so far that you never make it on a small current. Safety stops are most safely accomplished by following the bottom contour eastward toward shore and explore ledges and kelp beds while drifting along the shoreline.
As with all Tacoma Narrows dive sites, this is an advanced dive for numerous reasons and should not be attempted by anyone without the proper training and experience.
How to get there:
- This site is VERY current sensitive and a live boat is mandatory. Pick a minimal exchange day and dive at slack letting the current carry you toward the blocks
- Some of the blocks are deep and out of range for many divers. Stick to depths that you are comfortable with.
- There is some kelp near the shoreline so beware.
- Heavy boat traffic through the narrows (including fishing boats) so stay close to shore as you ascend.
- Make sure to cary a visual signaling device in case you get swept off the caissons in the current. Audio ones are good too but there is a lot of noise here from fog horns, vehicle and boat traffic, your own live boat's motor, etc.
- Use a compass - currents are irregular, often shifting directions at various depths and around bottom features.
Easy to find - navigate toward the Tacoma Narrows between Tacoma and Gig Harbor and look for the double HWY 16 bridge running high over your head. There are many mooring blocks below the bridges at varying depths and proximity to the bridge, but are basically below the bridges. They are easily recognizable on a depth finder but are also easily encountered while drifting under the bridge if the current is still or minimal.
Thanks to ChevaYEA for submitting this site!