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What an ‘Octopus Census’ Near Seattle Found

Once a year, the Seattle Aquarium enlists local divers to search for giant Pacific octopuses in the Puget Sound.
A giant Pacific octopus in a tank at an aquarium.
A giant Pacific octopus in a tank at an aquarium.Jaime Henry-White/AP

On a recent Sunday, two divers at a small cove in West Seattle pulled on their suits, air tanks, and masks. With their fins in their hands, they walked slowly towards the edge of Puget Sound, ready to descend dozens of feet into the water’s foggy depths in search of the largest octopus in the world—the giant Pacific octopus.

Jerry Dollar, a seasoned amateur diver who organized the expedition through the Emerald Sea Dive Club, offered Andrew Creighton and Mark Newland some last-minute advice. Keep an eye out for piles of clam and crab shells, because that may indicate you’re next to their den, he told them. Look carefully through piles of rocks and in the Honey Bear, a shipwrecked boat about 35 feet under water. And don’t skip the shallow areas.