The Sea-gram 

December, 2011


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Christmas Tree Worms in Cozumel

           Christmas Tree Worms Growing On Brain Coral; photo by Paul Mila, Cozumel Mexico

Dive Buddies Fulvio & Paul in Cozumel


Welcome to the December issue of Sea-gram, the monthly newsletter for ocean lovers, divers, and "deep-thinkers," from   
Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays (whatever floats your boat) to all Sea-grammers.
To really get into the holiday spirit click on this short YouTube clip sent in by Tony D'Alesandro.
When the British crew of the assault ship HMS Ocean heard they were going home after a seven month deployment in dangerous waters, they created this music video, to the tune of Mariah Carey's 1994 hit, All I want For Christmas Is You. A very funny Christmas greeting to you from our fighting allies across the pond:
In this issue's Story Behind The Photo, read about Jim Brand's encounter with hammerhead sharks at Cocos Island, in the Western Pacific.
 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 the Sea Shepherd's new anti-whaling campaign, Divine Wind. As you read this they are somewhere in Antarctic's Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, playing cat & mouse with Japanese whalers.
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. 
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I hope you enjoy Sea-gram !
 Paul J. Mila
 Story Behind The Photo . . . 
       Hammerheads at Cocos           
                        By Jim Brand, Austin Texas 
  Hammerhead at Cocos Island; photo by Jim Brand
Here is Jim's Story Behind The Photo:
Were were diving off Isla de Cocos (Cocos Island) during the 3rd week of October. We were at about 80' and I was perched behind a rock waiting for sharks to come in to a cleaning station where Barber fish would pick off parasites as the sharks made a slow pass in front, often turning their bodies to give the cleaners better access to their ventrum.
The skies were clear and the seas were flat, perfect conditions for underwater photography.


Equipment Details:

I used a Panasonic Lumix without external flash, set to factory 'underwater setting', housed in an aftermarket housing which is good to about 130'. 
Achieving dramatic shots is all about shooting angles.
To come home with impressive photos like Jim did, try to position yourself below your subject and shoot upward. This angle enhances your subject, and the photo will appear much more dramatic than shooting downward.
Conservation Corner . . .
          Battle of the Southern Ocean!
 Dead Whale Mother & Calf
 The Sea Shepherds are trying to end once and for all scenes such as the one above, showing dead mother and baby minke whales being hauled up the slipway of a factory ship in the name of Japanese scientific whaling. 
The website name in the photo above the two whales, stands for Institute for Cetacean Research, the front organization for Japan's deadly brand of "research."
DNA testing has confirmed that meat from endangered blue and fin whales somehow seems to find its way into Japanese food markets and restaurants. Could it be that Japan's "scientific whaling program" is merely commercial whaling in disguise? DUH!
This latest Sea Shepherd newsletter and short video highlights their new campaign:
Paul Watson provides details about Operation Diving Wind:
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My close encounters with Tonga humpbacks was
a reminder of our humble place in the universe. 
Humpback Whale
Eye-To-Eye With A Tonga Humpback;
Paul Mila photo, Tonga South Pacific

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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: Hammerheads At Cocos Island
Conservation Corner: Battle in the Southern Ocean
 Featured Article in this month's  Conservation Corner:
Battle in the Southern Ocean!
Read about Sea Shepherd's new anti-whaling campaign, dubbed Operation Divine Wind, as they prepare to stop Japanese whalers from slaughtering protected whales under the guise of "Scientific Whaling." 

Watch this short video from Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson:

For those who may not remember their WW II history, Divine Wind translates as Kamikaze. Interesting twist, don't you think?
Quick Links
Updates & Miscellaneous Features

Meet Photographer and Adventurer
Douglas J. Hoffman
Douglas' mission:
"My goal is to create compelling images of nature that reflect beauty and drama in order to evoke an emotional response."


Douglas has just posted a new Tonga whale blog on his site:


Swim around Douglas' website and discover his world of beauty and adventure:

  Douglas Hoffman Website



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  Undersea Artwork
I "met" artist and author Barbara Peterson through a mutual friend. Treat yourself and visit her website. Barbara's creations include a wonderful children's book, original art, photography, and various products featuring her creations:


Also visit Barbara's website at Fine Art America:



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Saving Valentina

Last Valentine's day, the plight of an entangled humpback whale was broadcast on the Internet.
 Sea-gram fan Tony D'Alessandro sent in a recent video from The Great Whale Conservancy showing the rescue in more detail, along with the whale's dramatic and moving "thank you" to the humans who rescued her.
Watch Valentina's rescue, and learn about The Great Whale Conservancy:



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Life & Death in the Aquarium:
A damsel in distress
We've written about the Caribbean lionfish problem in many past Sea-grams. Watching a lionfish corner a damsel fish In the controlled environment of an aquarium, you can imagine how deadly these invasive predators are for their reef-mates in the wild. Check out this video:



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Sea-gram reader Martha Weisberg sent in this news item:
"I now pronounce you . . . oops!"
See what happens when a couple of uninvited guests swim into a scuba wedding:
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Good News, For A Change
In 2002 a boat grounded in the Keys, damaging a coral reef. Using new techniques and special underwater cement,  scientists re-built the reef, which is now thriving:
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Sea-gram fan Jeff Reid sent in this interactive link to a BBC report noting Earth's population was breaking the 7 billion mark.
Check it out and see where you fit in, and how many humans were around on the date you were born: 
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