The Sea-gram 

May, 2011

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Dolphin Humor

          Dolphin Humor, from the folks at

Paul in Cozumel

Welcome to the May, 2011 issue of Sea-gram, the monthly newsletter for ocean lovers, divers, and "deep-thinkers," from 
In this issue's Story Behind The Photo, previous Sea-gram contributor Frank Kaufman returned from the Cayman Islands, and shares a great photo of a grouper cleaning station.
 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 Corner topic this month concerns last year's Gulf oil spill. Ecologist, conservationist, and author Carl Safina documents the event in his new book, A SEA IN FLAMES.
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I hope you enjoy Sea-gram !
 Paul J. Mila
Story Behind The Photo . . . 
       Taken To The Cleaners            
                        By Frank Kaufman, Carmel, New York 
Grouper cleaning station

Grouper Cleaning Station; Frank Kaufman photo, Little Cayman

Here is Frank's, Story Behind The Photo:
"On a morning dive in Little Cayman this past April, I came upon a grouper under a coral head with it's mouth wide open. The name of the dive site was Lea's Lea's Lookout, and I was quite surprised when coming around this coral mound to witness this grouper at a cleaning station.
I inched closer to the grouper very slowly, and got the rare chance to see many little fish swimming in and around its mouth and gills, cleaning it of parasites. I was very careful not to disturb the grouper, which let me come very close to witness this event.
This is known as a symbiotic relationship between the grouper and the fish, allowing them to swim freely in its mouth with no fear of being eaten.

The grouper remained motionless, with it's mouth and gills spread wide open. I was lucky to view this for about five minutes. Finally, the grouper decided it was time to go and swam off."

Equipment & Photo Details:
"I was using a Sea-Life 800 camera with a single strobe.
 "I came up slightly under the grouper and moved very slowly to within about a foot of my subject.
Since it was a very sunny day, and there was a lot of light penetrating through the water, I set my strobe for very low power. I aimed my strobe straight at the grouper, and also set my camera's focus for a distant shot which increases shutter speed. I have found that this setting helps me get clearer pictures with more color and detail. It seemed to work because the result was three very detailed pictures of this rare site. 
Aiming upward also helped to get a better picture."
1. When very close to your subject,within two feet, or near a white sandy bottom, turn down flash power to avoid over-exposure. Use a flash diffuser if you have one, to soften the shot and obtain richer colors.
2. To get as close as Frank did, stop, relax and approach very slowly; no rapid breathing, no fast swimming or flailing arms.
 Conservation Corner . . .
   A Sea In Flames
        The Story Behind The Disaster In The Gulf
Earlier this month I had the pleasure of meeting Carl Safina, ecologist, marine conservationist, at a local book signing event at Book Revue in Huntington, Long Island, for his recent book The View From Lazy Point.
Carl is also president & co-founder of Blue Ocean Institute, an environmental organization based in Cold Spring Harbor, New York.


At the book signing I was surprised to learn that Carl had also just published A Sea In Flames, about the ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. 


Readers will find the tone of the two books very different, for good reason. Sea In Flames CoverTo paraphrase Carl's comments about his books, Lazy Point was written in a spirit of love, while Sea In Flames was written in a spirit of anger -- anger at what was a totally preventable, man-made ecological disaster.


A book like this is vital, if for no other reason than to blunt the corporate propaganda spewing from BP's PR machine saying All is now well in the Gulf.

While progress has been made, we likely will not know the true impact of the spill for many years; that in itself is a tragedy, and yet another reason to read A Sea In Flames.  


This New York Times article highlights the differences between BP's sanitized version of reality and the facts:

Truth vs. Fantasy


About is your home for exciting dive adventure novels, now also available in e-book format on Amazon's Kindle, Barnes & Noble's, Nook, and all other e-book platforms.
Check out some great You-Tube videos featuring ocean creatures, and more.
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  Click the reading dolphin and swim into our website


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: Taken To The Cleaners,
Conservation Corner: A SEA IN FLAMES

Featured Article in this month's  Conservation Corner:

 Ecologist and conservationist Carl Safina's new book, about last year's oil spill in the Gulf:


 Story, lower left column.


Check out Robert Redford's comments about the disaster's effect on Gulf life, and its people:

Impact On The Gulf





Quick Links
Updates & Miscellaneous Features

 Here's Lookin' At You!

Irene Bagley, Sea-gram fan and Sierra Club member, sent us the link to a story about artist Bryant Austin, who painted this eye of a minke whale.

It's truly a great "whale tale," about how Bryant's close encounter with a mother humpback and her calf in Tonga was a life altering experience.

Click the photo for Austin's great story:

Whale Eye

Bryant Austin's minke whale painting

For an up-close view of what it's like free-diving with humpback whales, click on my photo below, a baby humpback in the Silver Bank, Dominican Republic.

The four-minute video clip was shot by Rob Barrel, owner of the Fiji-based NAI'A operation, during our Tonga adventure:

Baby Humpback Eye

Eye to Eye With a Baby Humpback

Paul Mila Photo (c)

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  Speaking of Whales . . .


Sea Shepherd had its most successful year so far, booting the Japanese whaling fleet out of the Antarctic's Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

Click the link below for an update from Sea Shepherd, and watch for the start of this season's episodes of Whale Wars, on Animal Planet.

Sea Shepherd Update


Unfortunately, not all is going as well for  whales in Japanese waters. This video clip from Sea Shepherd documents Japanese "fishermen" in their local waters, preparing to slaughter pilot whales.

Click below for the story and video:

Sick, Sick, Sick!


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Bluefin Tuna Update 

Several Sea-grams ago, we wrote about the endangered Bluefin tuna. With all the political turmoil in the Middle-east, no one, except our friends at Sea Shepherd, is going to protect them this season.

Click the link below for Sea Shepherd's upcoming efforts to save the Bluefin:

Saving The Bluefin


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Cookin' For A Great Cause!


In last month's Sea-gram, we mentioned mentioned that the Women Divers Hall of Fame had published a cookbook, with the proceeds supporting training and grants for future divers.

I ordered my copy, and I love it! Very well done, with an attractive cover in 3-ring binder format so new recipes and great dive stories can be inserted later.

Click on their link below for ordering information, and support a great cause:

Women Divers Hall of fame Cookbook


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

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Trashy Group Logo
 The Trashy Little Group are volunteers in Cozumel, doing their part to help ocean conservation.
In addition to beach cleanups, they prepare nesting sites for sea turtles.
Many species are losing nesting sites due to world-wide coastal development. Cozumel's beaches are home to the Loggerhead and Hawksbill species. Of the 8 species of sea turtles in the world, 4 of them make the nests in Cozumel. Last year's sanctuary officials recorded almost 4000 nests in Cozumel. Sadly, there are many stretches of beach that need more and better attention. If you'd like to lend a hand we invite you to follow the Trashy Little Group - please join them on facebook.
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Any Authors Out There? 
Writers and authors looking for editing, proof-reading, or reviewing services should check out Lorraine Fico-White's website below:



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


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