September, 2010
MilaBooks Logo
Grey Angel

   Giant Eagle Ray flying over Santa Rosa Wall, Cozumel Mexico. Paul Mila photo 

Paul and daughter Laura, Cozumel Mexico.
Paul working on sea-gram

Welcome to the September issue of Sea-gram, the monthly newsletter for ocean lovers, divers, and "deep-thinkers, from 
 In this issue's Story Behind The Photo, read about a close encounter with ET.
 If you have a good photo with an interesting story, or would like to share a good dive yarn, let me know at and I'll be happy to include your story in a future issue. 
Our conservation topic in this month's Conservation Corner concerns global warming's confirmed threat  
to world-wide coral.
If you know someone who would enjoy reading Sea-gram, perhaps a friend needing a good dive "fix" as we head into winter, please forward Sea-gram to your buddy, using the link at the end of the newsletter.
To view past Sea-grams click our ARCHIVE link below:
I hope you enjoy Sea-gram !
 Paul J. Mila
The Story Behind The Photo . . .       
     Peekaboo, ET?
                                 By Paul Mila, Carle Place, NY
Hawksbill Turtle 
 Hawksbill turtle, Cozumel Mexico, Paul Mila photo
We were diving on a reef called Paso de Cedral in Cozumel, Mexico.  This reef formation features a wall plunging to over 1,000 feet and a grassy plain, about 60 to 80 feet, depending on the part of the reef you are exploring.
The grassy area is flat with a lot of coral formations and plenty of juicy sponges -- ideal turtle food.  I had moved closer to an interesting coral formation and was setting up to take a nice macro close-up of the coral polyps.
All of a sudden I sensed movement on the other side of the coral and up popped ET, actually a hawksbill turtle, who had been enjoying a sponge lunch. He looked as surprised as I was, and we just stared at each other for a moment; just long enough for me to adjust my camera setting from macro focus to auto-focus and snap the shot. Then he moved off to dine in a more secluded spot.
Sealife 1000, with wide-angle lens and digital strobe.
Set on underwater external flash mode, auto-focus and  automatic exposure settings.
* * * * *
1. Using a wide-angle lens enables you to get close enough to your subject to capture fine detail
as well as the entire subject.  
2. Steady, slow breathing (no loud bubbles please), and good buoyancy control, enables you to approach sea creatures without spooking them.
 The result: a nice close-up.
Conservation Corner . . .
  Warming Threat To Coral Confirmed
Beautiful corals like this deep water sea fan in Cozumel may soon exist only in photos, and in our memories.
Cozumel Lionfish
Deep Water Sea Fan, Cozumel Mexico, Paul Mila photo
Over the last ten years marine scientists have been warning about the damaging effect of global warming on coral reef systems.
If you Google "global warming and coral reefs" you can read detailed studies documenting the death of coral reefs as far back as 2004, projecting future declines, many of which have occurred since then.
1998 was the warmest year on record, and the first eight months of 2010 have matched 1998, when over 15% of the world's shallow water reefs died.
Coral reefs depend on a specialized form of algae which lives in the coral producing food. This algae also gives corals their spectacular colors.
When water temperature rises, the algae produce toxin, causing the coral to expel them, resulting in coral bleaching. Deprived of its main food source, the coral weakens, becomes susceptible to disease and eventually starves to death. Major storms like hurricanes and monsoons suck heat from the ocean, bringing some cooling and relief, allowing the coral to recover. Unfortunately, most coral will not recover from extended bleaching.
This recent New York Times article by Justin Gillis details the threat to world-wide coral:
About is your home for exciting dive adventure novels, YouTube videos about ocean creatures, and more.
Thanks for visiting, and we'll see you next month!
Paul J. Mila 
 Paul in Cozumel
75 Titus Avenue
Carle Place, New York 11514
To forward Sea-gram to a friend, please click the "Forward email" link below.
In This Issue
The Story Behind The Photo: Peekaboo, ET ?
Conservation Corner: Warming Threat to Coral Confirmed
Featured Article in this month's 
 Conservation Corner: Global Warming Threat to Coral Reefs Confirmed.
The most negative assessments forecast that most of the world's coral reef systems will be dead by 2050. Although coral reefs occupy a small portion of the entire ocean, they are home to as much as 25% of marine life, including most fish.
Read more details in Conservation Corner, lower left column below.

Quick Links
ELF (Eliminate Lion Fish) Update:
In the July issue of Sea-gram we reported on a new lionfish killing tool. View this YouTube video to see a new improved model of ELF (you might want to turn down the sound):
New ELF Tool Video         
For additional information, check out Reef Protection Inc in the Guest Link section below.
 * * * * * * * * *
For The Whales


 I'll be doing a presentation and book signing for the Sierra Club titled,
Close Encounters Of A Gigantic Kind
Sunday, September 26, 2:00pm at theTanglewood Preserve, Rockville Center Long Island.
 Call 516-764-0045 for details & directions.
* * * * * * * * *
A fun divesite, where you can rent a beachfront condo, view great dive photos, and more!
* * * * * * *
 Guest Links:
Looking to purchase a Slice of Paradise?
As you might have guessed from reading Sea-gram, I spend a lot of time diving in Cozumel Mexico. 
 Purchasing a beachfront condo at the Residencias Reef made that possible
The Residencias Reef Condos
To learn more about this amazing  
development visit their official website:
Or contact Jaime Ramirez, at
* * * * * * *
Artist In Sand
During a random walk on Jones Beach, Long Island, NY, I happened upon an artist completing the above sand sculpture. We exchanged cards and I learned his name was C. Augustine Lynas. To view more of this artist's amazing work visit his website:
* * * * * * *
Learn about the organization Reef Protection Inc., and their role in eliminating lionfish:
 Post a link to your web site here! E-mail for details.
Join Our Mailing List
If a friend forwarded Sea-gram to you and you'd like to receive future issues, let us know. Click the JOIN link above, or e-mail me at