The Sea-gram 

October, 2011


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Shark up Close

A Little Too Close,  photo by Paul Mila, Nassau, Bahamas

Paul Shark Diving, Nassau Bahamas

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

This issue is somewhat "Shark-centric" since these endangered predators have been in the news quite a bit lately. 
Quote Of The Month:
Perhaps you're reading Sea-gram on a iPad, iPhone, or similar device created from the innovative mind of Steve Jobs, who passed away this month.
Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2004, Jobs gave the commencement speech at Stanford in 2005. In part, he said, "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition."
That's pretty sage advice from someone who changed the way many of us live.


Put This On Your Christmas Wish List:
Incredible remote controlled flying shark and clownfish emerge from the world of awesome!


In this issue's Story Behind The PhotoSleek Beauty On Patrol, read about shark diving, and when NOT to use your strobe when taking underwater photos.
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 story this month, Good News For Sharks highlights the good news/bad news status about efforts to protect these magnificent, but endangered, predators.

If you know someone who would enjoy reading Sea-gram, please forward a copy 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
 Story Behind The Photo . . . 
       Sleek Beauty, On Patrol
                        By Paul Mila, Carle Place, NY 
Shark Cruising
Caribbean Reef Shark Patrolling Shark Wall
Paul Mila Photo, Nassau Bahamas

We were diving the first of two shark dives on a Scuba Network trip to Stuart Coves in Nassau Bahamas. The first dive, on Shark Wall, was to get us used to being in the water with sharks, so no one would freak out and panic during the second dive: the shark feeding at Shark Arena, when the action would be up close and frenzied.

To see what that second dive was like, check out this two-minute video clip from our shark feeding dive, when I snapped the headline photo at the top of the newsletter:

Shark Brunch


On our first dive we were about 40 feet deep, approaching the edge of the wall which descends into a formation called The Tongue of the Ocean, a 3,000 foot deep trench that is home to many large deep-sea creatures. The late-morning sun was bright and the water calm and very clear, so there was plenty of ambient light. Several robust Caribbean Reef Sharks, the largest reef shark species, cruised past us calmly and majestically, like they owned the place -- well, they did!  


The sharks kept their distance, about fifteen to twenty feet from us, so I removed my wide-angle lens and set my camera to underwater non-flash mode. We stayed low, hugging the bottom, giving us a better shooting angle. I looked to my left as this big gal, about 10 feet long, swam past. You can see it's a she -- no claspers (external male organs) on the underside, just ventral fins. I slowly rolled and took the shot. The sunlight reflecting off the shark's dorsal area gave a nice effect.


An underwater flash loses its effectiveness when your subject is more than 6 feet away. Set your camera to underwater no flash mode, an automatic setting that some camera brands call Sea Mode, Sea Life Mode, or some similar name, so the strobe will not fire.
The camera's internal logic automatically compensates for less light and also activates light filters to offset the "blueness" of the water.
If your camera lacks that auto setting, manually turn off the flash and open the aperture one setting (change the F-stop).  You may have to correct the "blueness" later with photo editing software.
If I had taken the above shot using underwater flash mode the shark, about 12 feet away, would have appeared as a poorly defined image, and I never would have captured the second shark looming in the distance.
Conservation Corner . . .
         Some Good News For Sharks
This month's conservation article highlights worldwide efforts to save sharks.
This story and short video from PEW Environment Group, showing a Taiwan Shark Fishery, illustrates the extent of the problem, and why it is so difficult to control:


Sea-Save Organization was instrumental in convincing California Governor Jerry Brown to sign legislation, Bill AB376, banning sale, trade, and possession of shark fins in California, joining Hawaii, Washington, and Oregon as shark saving states.
 Check out this organization:
World's Largest Shark Sanctuary Established!
The PEW Environment Group has announced that the Marshall Islands has established a new shark sanctuary in the central Pacific, encompassing an area four times the land mass of California. Check out this great story:
Sea Shepherd Update:
Why the fight to save sharks must continue.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Organization (those whale warriors) is also active in efforts to save dolphins, seals, sharks and other marine life.
Sea-Shepherd's latest newsletter highlights how difficult the battle is. The second major shark poaching incident this year occurred in the Galapagos Sanctuary:
About is your home for exciting dive adventure novels, YouTube videos featuring ocean creatures, and more.
All three of my books are now on E-book platforms.
If you recently purchased an Amazon Kindle, or another E-reader brand for your next trip, you can download my books from Amazon or Smashwords (for all devices).
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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: Sleek Beauty On Patrol
Conservation Corner: Good News For Sharks
Featured Article in this month's  Conservation Corner: Good News For Sharks
Sharks are still being hunted in unsustainable numbers, i.e., toward extinction, due to the demand for shark fin soup and other shark by-products.
But pinpoints of enlightenment are popping up around the globe, so there's hope.
Read about the latest victories, lower left column. 
Quick Links
Updates & Miscellaneous Features

Japan Tsunami Video Update
Last month we published the link to an incredible video shot from inside a car bobbing and swirling at the mercy of the tsunami.
When the video went blank we had no idea what happened to the photographer, but Sea-gram reader Leon Rutman sent in the missing information.
Here's the story behind this amazing video:
Yu Muroga was doing his job making deliveries when the 11 March 2011 earthquake hit in Japan.
Unaware, like many people in the area, of how far inland the Tsunami would travel, he continued to drive and do his job.

The HD camera mounted on his dashboard captured not only the earthquake, but also the moment he and several other drivers were suddenly engulfed in the Tsunami.
He escaped from the vehicle seconds before it was crushed by other debris and sunk underwater.

His car and the camera have only recently been recovered by the police.
The camera was heavily damaged but a video expert was able to retrieve this amazing footage:

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Sharks Invade

Golf Course

If you slice a lot of shots into the water like I do, you might think twice before dipping your hand in the water to retrieve that lost golf ball -- at least in Australia.

Shark Golf


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Divers Discover the "Dead Sea" Is Not So Dead


Dive buddy Jeff Rein sent in this story about an expedition into the Dead Sea, where divers uncovered freshwater springs issuing from massive craters in the sea floor, along with a menagerie of microbes.

Check out the story and video:

Life In The Dead Sea



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Sea-gram fan Fred Chiappetta sent in this story about a British swimmer losing parts of both legs when he was attacked by a great white shark Wednesday, after he ignored warnings at a Cape Town, South Africa, beach.
Check out the video, showing the large shark cruising just off the beach following the attack:
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My fun divesite, where you can rent a beachfront condo, view great dive photos, and more!


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A Cozumel Dog Story

Meet Pirata (Pirate), a one-eyed pooch adopted by my friend Cozumel Kelly. She runs a vacation rental and property management service in Cozumel. 

 If you are planning a trip to Cozumel, or own a place and need rental management, check out Kelly's website:

Here's Kelly's story about Pirata:

 Pirata, the One-eyed Pooch

"Yes, Yes, I really do have a one-eyed dog named Pirata, he also has a black patch over the other eye that's actually there.

He's a street/island dog, kind of a  
lab mix, about 42 kilos (about 90 lbs.). We say that he is "malish", a mixed dog of the streets. He's a big dog for this area.
Pirata is street famous for sure, people always call out his name when we are walking the malecon. People walking by the house also call his name. Ivan found children feeding him cookies through the gate the other night.....yup, he deserves his own FaceBook page!
I've had him for about 6 years now. Got him around 2 years old I think.
He had shown up on a friend's doorstep close to death, missing the eye, all bit up, super skinny. The vets told her not to get attached that he really shouldn't make it; BUT he did!
And he's healthy now, has a somewhat cush life......knows Spanish better than English! I'd be happy to introduce you next time you're around! 
He's a cool dog, everybody loves him, he's BIG to everyone, it's fun. He's never bit any one, which is good, but he has been known to kill a few things in the yard."
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Barbara Buchanan, travel planner, diver, underwater photographer, and writer has just launched her new website:


Check out the above link, where you can read Barbara's articles from Wreck Diving Magazine, view her photos & videos, and get assistance planning your next dive adventure. 
Barbara's philosophy:
"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!"
I think Barbara's sentiments are shared by scuba divers, mountain climbers, sky divers, anyone with an adventuresome soul.
You can also contact Barbara directly at:


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