The Sea-gram 

 February, 2011

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French Angel

          French Angel Swimming Along A Coral Wall; photo by Paul Mila, Cozumel Mexico

Paul working on the beach

Working At The Cozumel Office

Welcome to the February issue of Sea-gram, the monthly newsletter for ocean lovers, divers, and "deep-thinkers," from 

In this issue's Story Behind The PhotoTraining Day, non-diving Sea-gram readers get a peak at the training to become a certified scuba diver.


Calling All Diving Photogs! I would really like to feature YOU in Sea-gram. If you have a good photo with an interesting story, let me know at and I'll include your photo & story in a future issue. 
 Our Conservation Corner topic this month, Make A Difference, by returning columnist Marianne McNamara, discusses the many ways we can all get involved and help save the oceans and its inhabitants.

If you know someone who would enjoy reading Sea-gram, please forward Sea-gram to your buddy, using the link at the end of the newsletter. 
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I hope you enjoy Sea-gram !
 Paul J. Mila

The Story Behind The Photo(s) . . .
           Training Day !           
                        By Paul Mila, Carle Place
 In 2003 my Daughter, Laura, took a kinesiology class (the study of the mechanics of motion with respect to human anatomy) during her senior year at The College of William & Mary.
One of the specialties offered within the course was scuba diving. Laura majored in Foreign Languages, not math or finance. Nevertheless, she figured out the numbers: scuba lessons + certification = free dive trips with dad.
For non-diving readers wondering how one becomes scuba certified, you take a series of classroom & pool lessons, and finally demonstrate the required basic skills for the instructor during four open-water dives.  Rather than having Laura perform this final step in a cold Virginia quarry or the murky James River, I asked my instructor Alison Dennis (
to complete Laura's training in Cozumel's warm, gin-clear waters.
In the photo below, Alison holds onto Laura in a stiff current at Paradise Reef, while Laura completes one of the more difficult required exercises: removing her mask, putting it back on and purging the water while remaining underwater.
Laura Mask Clearing
The following year, as a fully certified scuba diver, Laura and two other divers hang on to the the crow's nest of the C-53, inspecting the wreck of the old mine sweeper resting at 80 feet.
  Laura on the crow's nest
Conservation Corner . . .
            Make A Difference !
                   by Marianne McNamara, Middle Island, NY
Marianne McNamara sunsetThis month's conservation article, Make A Difference, is contributed by Marianne McNamara, contributor in October 2010's Sea-gram, "Jelly-fishing For Answers."
Marianne is a marine biologist, Instructor of Biology at Suffolk County Community College (encompassing marine bio and oceanography) and Vice president of the Long Island Diving Association, (LIDA) . 
The oceans are in dire need of our assistance, and Marianne discusses the many opportunities for all of us to get involved: 
"The dictionary defines a volunteer as a person performing a service willingly and without pay. Generally speaking, volunteering is the practice of offering oneself for a given undertaking, be it the aid of others, or a particular cause, without request or recognition. Yet, volunteering, by its very nature, is a rewarding and giving process and can be ironically self-serving. Indeed, there are many reasons to volunteer one's time or resources. Many volunteer to gain experience, meet others, network, have fun, and/or to fatten their resumes. Consider the myriad of volunteer opportunities on Long Island:

Long Island is the land of opportunity for young, budding marine science enthusiasts. With its proximity to New York City and a thriving economy and population, Long Island offers what some other marine metropolises can't - opportunity!  For example, the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation. Located just behind Atlantis Marine World aquarium, is New York State's only marine mammal and sea turtle stranding program. Devote some time and energy with this great organization and you can be working hands-on with the area's sea turtles, seals, and the occasional dolphin or porpoise (

Atlantis Marine World also has a volunteer program for those interested in assisting behind-the-scenes, or working directly with the public ( 

With all of its beaches, Long Island is also home to many opportunities to monitor threatened horseshoe crab populations through the Cornell Cooperative Extension( and nesting diamondback terrapins with the non-profit north shore group Friends of Flax Pond ( In the spring, you can take part in counting returning alewives to local streams and rivers with Seatuck Environmental Association (

Volunteer with the Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island (CRESLI) aboard a whale watch out of Montauk in the summer, or a seal walk on Cupsogue Beach in the winter (  Local museums and landmarks, such as Horton's Point Lighthouse, Robert Moses State Park and lighthouse, Montauk Point State Park and lighthouse, and the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum are always looking for volunteers to maintain the grounds, engage the public, and educate visitors (e.g.,

The list is long, and extends well beyond the organizations and institutions mentioned here.

The rewards of volunteering are endless; you'll gain valuable insight and experience, make friends and connections, and develop a sense of pride and fulfillment in your work. In fact, if you search further in the dictionary, you'll find that volunteering also means to "grow without being seeded or planted" and "to spring up spontaneously", which, although intended for agricultural practices, is consistent with the growth of one's own sense of hope, society, gratification and satisfaction.

 By volunteering, not only will you be working to protect our fragile marine environment, but helping one of its most important inhabitants . . . you! "

Check out Marianne's blogs, right column in the  Guest Links section.


About is your home for exciting dive adventure novels, YouTube videos featuring ocean creatures, and more.
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Thanks for visiting; 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: Training Day! A peak into basic dive training.
Conservation Corner: Make A Difference. Opportunities to volunteer and help save the oceans




Featured Article in this month's  Conservation Corner:

Make A Difference, by marine biologist Marianne McNamara.


Marianne is a returning contributor to Sea-gram (October issue, Jelly-fishing For Answers).

Marianne describes the myriad opportunities for us to volunteer and help save the oceans, its inhabitants, and us in the long run.

Lower left column.




Quick Links

Updates & Miscellaneous Features

Wild & Whacky Department


Ace Sea-gram off-beat reporter Tony D'Alessandro found two great stories for us this month:


First, meet La-La, a 10-year old king penguin, formerly of the Antarctic, who now resides in Japan.

La-La was rescued from a fisherman's line and refused to leave after he was healed. He was adopted by a family in a small town in Japan and has became a beloved pet. He has his own personal air-conditioned cold room. La-La is very smart! He walks to the fish store with his little backpack to shop for fresh fish every day.   

Watch daily Lala's shopping trip through the streets of his adopted home town. You really won't believe this story!

La-La The Penguin


Next, Tony came across a story about a walrus who keeps himself & his trainers in shape with a daily dose of calisthenics; sit-ups, push-ups, etc.


        Yes, PETA lovers, I also have mixed feelings about keeping large marine animals in captivity for entertainment. But on the positive side, it does raise the public's awareness about marine life.


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Sea Shepherd Update 

Sea Shepherd's 2010/2011 campaign, dubbed Operation No Compromise has succeeded in shutting down illegal Japanese whaling in the Southern

Ocean Whale Sanctuary, at least temporarily.

For details click:

Operation No Compromise


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 Whales Return to NYC

Sea-gram contributor Martha Weisberg found this story about the return of the Great Whales to the Big Apple. Perhaps there is hope for us yet! Click:

Whales Are Back!


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Sailfish in Cancun

Cozumel resident Fulvio Cuccurullo found himself snorkeling with sailfish feeding on sardines, a two hour boat ride from Cancun.  Click here for the amazing action, but you might want to mute the annoying music:

Mexican Sailfish Adventure


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A fun divesite, where you can rent a beachfront condo, view great dive photos, and more!

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Follow marine biologist Marianne McNamara's adventures at her two blogs:
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  Interested in checking out Cozumel real estate?
Here are some very good options:
Jaime Rameriz offers interesting possibilities at the Residencias Reef:
Nancy Edwards, owner of Cozumel Living has her finger on the island's pulse.

Check out Nancy's latest newsletter & website:

Cozumel Living Newsletter


James Watts of Re/Max, a Cozumel resident and local diver, has plenty of options for you:

Available Link! Post a link to your web site here!
E-mail for details.


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