The Sea-gram
February, 2010
Baby Gray Whale
                      "Pretty Baby"; Gray Whale Photo, Baja Mexico, by Jon Fellows (c)
Paul in Cozumel

Welcome to Sea-gram, the monthly newsletter for ocean lovers, divers, and "deep thinkers" everywhere, from 
I started writing this issue as another winter snow storm was barreling Eastward; Brrrr, it was time to get out of Dodge!

I continued writing  Sea-gram in Mexico's Baja Peninsula, as our Andiamo Tour Group traveled through the desert to commune with the friendly gray whales in the San Ignacio and Scammon's Lagoons.

This month's cover photo above, a baby gray whale visiting our tiny boat to watch us watching him, was snapped by Jon Fellows as mom patrolled nearby. Thankfully, the whales had read the glossy travelogues, and knew that their role was to be friendly and play nice with us puny humans bobbing around in our pangas, tiny boats about one-fourth the size of these aquatic giants.

This leads me to a point about the lives that divers, and other adventurous souls, lead. Telling friends and relatives that we swim, or hang out, with whales, dive with sharks, explore sunken shipwrecks, and the like, usually elicits strange glances and comments, such as, That's dangerous! Are you nuts?
The following cartoon is a great visual of why some of us prefer living on life's sharper edge:
Results Of Clean Living

This quote from Barbara Buchanan from Scuba (see Guest Links), says it best:

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming WOW - WHAT A RIDE!"
So let's salute Barbara's philosophy with a icy margarita or a chilled coconut rum, which my Cozumel friend Enrique recommends mixing with pineapple juice.
FINS UP, Sea-gram fans!

This month's Story About The Photo features a lobster dinner, from a different point of view.
If you have a good photo with an interesting anecdote, or have a good dive yarn to share, let me know at and I'll include your story in a future issue. 
 In Conservation Corner, read about the deadly consequences choking our oceans with our irresponsibly discarded plastic trash has on sea life.
I hope you enjoy reading Sea-gram !
 Paul J. Mila
The Story Behind The Photo . . .
     Lobster Dinner, by Paul Mila
 Lobster Dinner

We were diving on Cozumel's Yucab Reef, about fifty feet deep, when I spotted this Caribbean lobster under a coral overhang, nibbling away on a fish it was holding with its spindly legs. Very rarely do we get to observe an animal making a kill or eating its prey. Most critters just like to enjoy their meals in private. I don't know if the lobster killed this little snapper, or was out scavenging for dinner.

Camera used was a 35mm film SEA&SEA MX10 with YS40 strobe and wide angle lens.

Technically, this is not a very good photo of a Caribbean lobster; insufficient light resulted in washed out color and limited detail. But what makes it interesting is the action: We're attending a lobster dinner, but from the lobster's perspective for a change.

Additional light would have greatly improved this photo, providing more color, sharpness and detail. However the batteries in my strobe had died, so I was forced to shoot with ambient light.
 TIP #1: check your batteries before every dive!

To compensate for low-light conditions, I opened the camera lens aperture and attached a wide-angle lens, so I was able to get very close to maximize available light and still capture the entire subject.
TIP#2: Invest in a wide-angle lens. It increases your creative ability to get close to your subject and compose your shot without losing part of the scene.

 Choking Our Oceans With Plastic

  Until recently, many people had never heard about or seen pictures of a massive floating patch of discarded plastic waste larger than Texas floating in middle of the Pacific Ocean. Victims include sea birds, fish, sea turtles, ocean mammals, and ultimately humans, creators of the "Throw-away Society."

This Chris Jordan photo (, showing a dead albatross on Midway Atoll, illustrates the point. Clearly seen in the decayed bird's stomach are a plastic cigarette lighter, bottle caps and miscellaneous plastic trash.
Dead Albatross
Photo courtesy of Chris Jordan, (c).

Kate Bradshaw, writing for Maui Time, estimates the massive floating plastic patch is twice the size of Texas:
The Great Garbage Swirl

Sea-gram fan Martha Weisberg forwarded this link to a presentation by Captain Charles Moore, who is credited with having discovered this symptom of a planet gone mad. Please invest seven minutes to watch this riveting presentation concerning this deadly problem:
Captain Charles Moore's Presentation

The article below, by Jacob Silverman, provides additional information, and links to numerous sources illustrating how humans have turned the world's largest ocean into the world's largest "landfill".
Pacific Ocean = World's largest "Landfill"

Finally, this Wikipedia link provides detailed diagrams of how the ocean currents distribute out plastic waste into massive patches:
Wikipedia Link To Ocean Plastic

What We Can Do:
1. Become informed. Read the above links or explore on your own.
2. Support conservation efforts toward recycling plastics.
3. Use less plastic! For example, don't purchase water in those small bottles, which clog landfills or end up floating in the ocean. Instead, fill re-usable containers, and/or install home-based water purification systems.
About is your home for exciting dive adventure novels, YouTube videos about ocean creatures, and more.
I finished writing this Sea-gram back in New York, as yet again another snow storm was hammering us. Spring can't come soon enough!

Hopefully, some of our intrepid group of 27 travelers will contribute photos and stories about our exciting Baja gray whale adventure for the March issue.  
 Paul working on sea-gram

Thanks for joining us, and see you next month!
Paul J. Mila
75 Titus Avenue
Carle Place, New York 11514
In This Issue
The Story Behind The Photo: LOBSTER DINNER

Featured Article in this month's  Conservation Corner:
Choking Our Oceans With Plastic.
Capt. Charles Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation first discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch -- an endless floating waste of plastic trash. Now he's drawing attention to the growing, choking problem of plastic debris in our seas.

Read more about this critical issue and see Captain Moore's fascinating presentation in Conservation Corner, below left column.

Sea Shepherd

Anti-Whaling Update

Below is an update from Sea Shepherd founder and President, Captain Paul Watson:

"Saturday will mark three full weeks that no whales have fallen victim to the ruthless harpoons of the illegal whalers, but Operation Waltzing Matilda is not over yet. There are still roughly three weeks left in the Japanese whaling season and we still have many more whales to save in what is supposed to be their own sanctuary. In these turbulent times, and with your continued support, I am confident that our objective of cutting kill quotas in half will be achieved.

Please read on as I have a campaign report for you, along with an update on Captain Pete Bethune, and some great news about support from the country where our vessel Steve Irwin is registered."

Click the link below for Captain Watson's update regarding Captain Pete Bethune, whose boat the Andy Gil, was rammed and sunk by a Japanese whaler last month during Sea Shepherd anti-whaling operations. Attempting to serve a warrant against the captain of the Japanese whaler for attempted murder of him and his crew, Captain Bethune has been detained by the Japanese. They intend to put HIM on trial:
Pete Bethune Situation

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Miscellaneous Feature:

Ever wonder what would happen if a killer whale (ORCA) encountered a great white shark in the wild?
fan Martha Weisberg sent us this fascinating NatGeo video clip:

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Quick Links
Check out great beachreads, view exciting YouTube dive videos, and more!
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February Guest Links:

Click below to arrange a great scuba diving adventure through Barbara Buchanan:

Interested in wreck diving? Check out this fascinating magazine:
Explore Wreck Diving

Available Guest Link!
E-mail for details.
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