|Wish I were here right now !|
Welcome to the February issue of Sea-gram, the monthly newsletter for ocean lovers, divers, and "deep-thinkers," from milabooks.com
This issue is jam-packed with interesting stories, links & photos.
So don't gobble it down all at once. Tuck it away, savor it a little bit at a time when you have a free moment, and enjoy it.
We used Jim Brand's shot of a Rosy-lipped Batfish for this month's headline photo because batfish are such unusual and rare critters, and it's also a great shot!
Jim was using a Panasonic Lumix camera with internal flash, housed in an aftermarket housing.
Jim described his dive in the Pacific, off Cocos Island:
"This rosy lipped batfish was shot in about 30' of water, on a dive designed to see batfish. We saw 2 or 3 in a 1-hour dive, always resting on the sandy bottom. When bothered, they would scoot along the bottom for about 8 to 10 yards and then settle again."
BREAKING NEWS: NO TRAVEL ADVISORY FOR COZUMEL, CANCUN, PLAYA DEL CARMEN!
Check out this late-breaking news, just posted by the U.S. State Dept. While advisories continue for other parts of Mexico, there are no advisories or restrictions for our favorite dive spots:
In this issue's Story Behind The Photo, read about photographer/diver Mike Boyd's Dolphin Encounter.
If you have a good photo with an interesting story, or would like to share a good dive yarn, let me know at email@example.com and I'll be happy to include your story in a future issue.
Our Conservation Corner topic this month concerns the deadly job of Caribbean lobster hunting. Why is it dangerous? You have to watch the video!
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I hope you enjoy Sea-gram !
Paul J. Mila
Story Behind The Photo . . .
Bahamas Dolphin Encounter
By Mike Boyd
Diver/photographer Mike Boyd and his wife Linda (in the photo) were diving in Freeport, Bahamas. Below is Mike's Story Behind The Photo:
"I think this might still be the coolest dive that I have ever done, and I am darn close to 700 now. Early one morning we loaded into our dive boat and headed across the harbor to the dolphin facility. They had maybe 30+ dolphins in residence at that time. The original two were wild capture and everyone that came after that had been born at the facility.
"When we arrived the dolphin handlers came onboard to brief us, then the two boats headed out to sea, side by side.
The two dolphins that were joining us for our adventure just followed along in the wake of the two boats. Maybe entertained with the occasional fish treat tossed to them by the handlers but not tethered in any way ..... and that was just the 1st of many cool things that happened that morning.
"After a half hour, we arrived at the site of our dive.
About 45ft of water with an absolutely featureless sandy bottom. There were 6 or 8 of us on that dive. Once we were in the water and on the bottom they arranged us in a big circle.
The two dolphin handlers and the stars of the show took up position in the center of our circle. Over the course of the next 39 minutes we each had 4 one-to-one experiences with the dolphins.
"First, one of the dolphins came to lay in the sand right in front of each of us and we were able to touch them (pet them really).
The last interaction was the coolest of all. We each, in turn, took the regulator out of our mouth and blew a small stream of bubbles. Dolphins just love the bubbles, so they would come over and stick their rostrum into the bubble stream. Looking for all the world like they were giving us a kiss on the lips.
That, as the luck of photographers sometimes go, was the "pixture" I didn't get. But as I sit here writing this I can see it just as clearly as if it happened yesterday ..... and hopefully now you can too.
So if you're a diver, definitely put this one on your bucket list!"
Mike's Equipment Details:
"It was early in my underwater photography career, so I was still using a point--shoot camera. A Nikon 950, in an Ikelite housing with two Ikelite 50 strobes. The zoom lens was at 20.4mm and the exposure was 1/35sec, f4.0."
Editor's Note: If you'd like to follow Mike's underwater photographic adventures, visit his blog site:
Mike's Blog Spot
Thanks for sharing, Mike!
Conservation Corner . . .
Where Did Your Lobster Come From?
This month's Conservation Corner article is not exactly about conservation, but so unique that it is well worth sharing.
It was sent in by Stephano Noel, one of our dive buddies who visits Scuba Network on Old Country Road in Long Island on a regular basis.
If someone asked you where that juicy lobster tail that you're planning to eat for dinner came from, you'd probably say Maine, Long Island, or somewhere from our North-East waters. WRONG!
To keep up with rising demand, thousands of pounds are imported from the Caribbean, in this case Honduras. These lobsters lack the huge claws of their North Atlantic cousins, but they do have nice tails, very tasty served broiled with drawn butter.
But the UNTOLD story is about the dangers faced by the local divers who hunt these lobsters.
The divers are inadequately equipped, many dive without depth or air gauges, and are untrained about avoiding decompression illness, The Bends. Consequently, many are injured and die each year.
A fascinating NBC video (sorry, you might have to endure a 30-second commercial first):
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Featured Article in this month's Conservation Corner: Where Did Your Lobster Come From?
An amazing story about the untold dangers faced by Caribbean lobstermen.
Story, lower-left column.
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Updates & Miscellaneous Features
The Cozumel Community lost a good friend recently, David Gaines, who passed away too young after a long, brave fight against cancer.
Many of us met David as a result of buying property in Cozumel, where David was our rental property manager.
Along the way we also got to know him as a friend.
David & his daughter Nicole are pictured below, diving in Cozumel; Nicole's thoughts are below:
"I was just looking at this photo and I recall we saw turtles and a nudi branch and we were diving with Cheto. Since I found a nudi branch we were probably on Santa Rosa wall.
We always dove for a least an hour bottom time. I haven't been diving since 2007 because I only dive with my dad. My dad was such a calm and safe diver, and I always felt so comfortable with him - from Palancar to Maracaibo.
When I was little, my dad built a pool in our back yard. He really built it himself and stopped his flying lessons so he could afford it. He would let me swim with the dive tank on. Neat.
I sure do miss my dad."
We do too, Nicole.
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Cats and . . . Dolphins?
Since dolphin encounters are a major topic in this issue, don't miss this short video of one cat's encounter with three wild dolphins, sent in by Sea-gram fan Terry Gallogly.
Really funny; don't miss it!
Cats & Dolphins
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"Thank You" From Japan
For some reason this story never received much media attention, but Sea-gram reader Joe Rossi sent this heart warming response from Japan to the U.S. for our help in the wake of last year's tsunami.
If you can't watch the entire several minutes, which includes some never-before seen tsunami footage, fast forward to the 3:30 mark:
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Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor when photographing sharks, as this photo story sent in by Sea-gram reader Russ Chiappetta shows:
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Giant Whale Shark Caught
They don't get any bigger than this one, caught off Pakistan.
Since whale sharks are an endangered species, we hope the fact are true -- that fishermen found it floating, already dead.
An amazing photo/blog story sent in by Sea-gram fan Fred Chiappetta:
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A Newbie's Adventure
An amusing story about a new diver's first underwater experiences, which will probably jog our own memory banks about how we felt learning to dive. Be sure to read his historical posts in the right column.
As Tony Simm's describes,
"This is a diary of my journey to learn how to scuba dive, something I have wanted to do for years."
Post Script: Just before this issue "went to press," I received this message from Tony:
"I am now PADI OW certified!
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