15 Sep 2014
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Patch Instagram photo by maringim
Patch Instagram photo by maringim

The Octopus Under the Narrows Bridge Named One of the Wonders of Tacoma

The Narrows Bridge and the legendary octopus that is reported to live beneath it have officially been recognized as two of the 11 Wonders of Tacoma. But is the legend of the giant octopus living in the ruins of Galloping Gertie really true?

The Octopus Under the Narrows Bridge Named One of the Wonders of Tacoma

Legend surrounding the Narrows Bridge and the ecosystem living in Galloping Gertie's ruins at the bottom of Puget Sound that have inspired locals for decades are now recognized as official Wonders of Tacoma. 

In honor of Murray Morgan Bridge Week,  the public was invited to participate in a survey to vote on Tacoma’s 11 Wonders which includes the Murray Morgan Bridge and honors its location on 11th Street.

The 11 Wonders of Tacoma are: 

Point Defiance Park & Zoo

Union Station

Ruston Way Waterfront

Tacoma Narrows Bridge

Views of Mt. Rainier

Stadium High School

Wright Park

Museum of Glass

Fort Nisqually

Octopus under the Tacoma Narrows Bridge

Murray Morgan Bridge

Does a Gigantic Octopus Really Live Under the Narrows Bridge? 

Speaking as a former Titlow Beach daycamper, I can say with absolute certainty that the 600-pound octopus reported to live under the Narrows is the best urban legend in the area. Just the thought of such a mammoth creature wallowing in the ruins of Galloping Gertie was enough to make me hold my breath whenever the family car crossed over the bridge.

But is it fact, or fiction?

According to the WSDOT Narrows Bridge Weird Facts web page, one of the world's largest octopus species makes its home in Puget Sound - the Giant Pacific Octopus, which can weigh over 600 pounds. Local legend will tell you that the largest Pacific Octopus in the world lives under the Narrows Bridge. The solitary and elusive creature can often be hard to track and they only live to be about four years old, but divers have reported octopus sightings in the underwater ruins of Galloping Gertie. 

This Patch editor could not say with any certainty that there is or ever has been a 600 pound octopus living under the bridge, but if you can, prove it!

Octopus Wrestling

Titlow Park has always been a popular starting point for scuba divers visiting Galloping Gertie, but some may not know that the World Octopus Wrestling Championships were hosted there in 1963.

Contestants dived 30 to 50 feet to Gertie's ruins, to grab giant Pacific octopuses out of a cave or wherever they were making a home. The event was attended by thousands of people.

Read more about the World Octopus Wrestling Championship in The Seattle Times. 

What's your favorite local Octopus legend? Do you believe the largest octopus in the world lives under the Narrows Bridge? Tell us in the comments. 

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