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Back  |  USA: Pacific Northwest   |  Puget Sound - South


Tacoma Narrows Bridge - Mooring Blocks  |  USA: Pacific Northwest

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Tacoma, WA

Type: Saltwater
Difficulty:
Advanced


Ratings (1-5):
Reviews: 2
Enjoyment: 3.67
Visibility: 3.67
Current: 3.67
Aquatic Life: 5

Photo Gallery:

Tacoma Narrows East Side
Tacoma Narrows Mooring Block
Mooring Blocks
Giant Barnacle
Scalyhead Sculpin
Sponge encrusted boulder



Features

Debris, Boulder Pile / Shelves

Description

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.

Special Restrictions:

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.

  • 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.

How to get there:

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!
  Comments Leave Review  
Matt_Tyler4/18/2009Rating: 4
Our main intent on this dive was to find the huge mooring blocks, but I was pleasantly surprised at how many shelves/small walls there were running parallel to shore. These shelves are also great for looking for creatures. The blocks were pretty cool too! They are huge...about the size of a semi trailer...and have tons of life on and around them. My recommendation is that instead of eating 3 burgers before the dive, eat a light lunch and bring raw hamburger with you if you must. It may be more fun feeding the fish voluntarily....

Chris4/18/2009Rating: 4
These blocks are big! They are also undercut which provides great places to look for critters. I enjoyed this dive. It is very easy to lose your buddy here. If they swim into the current you should be prepared to quickly follow. Also don't eat three hamburgers right before you jump in the water here. :0)



 

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