The Sea-gram

   For ocean lovers, divers,

               and "deep-thinkers."


December, 2012



MilaBooks Logo

          Dive buddy Joe Troiano sneaks up on a hawksbill turtle in Cozumel, Mexico. Paul Mila photo



Ellen Rogers in the beach in Cuba
Sea-gram fan Ellen Cameron enjoys reading Near Miss, on a Cuban beach.
Welcome to the December issue of Sea-gram, the monthly newsletter from 

My latest dive adventure novel, Near Miss, hit the waves in December!
Near Miss is currently available from Amazon, in both print and Kindle versions, at miss.
By mid-January Near Miss should be available on Nook, all other online platforms, and by request  at your local books store.
Long Island readers can pick up a signed copy now at Scuba Network, in Carle Place.
In this new adventure, "Spies, treasure hunters, and Cozumel divers collide in a Caribbean thriller."
If you prefer a signed copy of Near Miss, at a discounted price of $12.00 + $3.00 domestic U.S. shipping & handling, send me an email with your name and mailing address, to
 * * * * * * * *
On December's Cozumel dive trip, dive buddy Joe Troiano and I encountered a wide variety of sea life on every dive, including turtles, sharks, and moray eels.
Check out this short YouTube clip, when a large green moray decided to accompany us on our dive. My heart beat went up a notch when he decided to check me out and swim closer:
Moray Eel Swimming With Us In Cozumel
Moray Eel Swimming With Us In Cozumel
* * * * * * * * *  
This month's Story Behind The Photo features a young Green Turtle we encountered on Palancar Reef, and a couple of hawksbills doing the Turtle Tango.
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. 
 * * * * * * * *
The Featured Creature this month is the Spotted Drum Fish, photographed by Mike Boyd, and it's close, rare cousin, the Jack Knife Fish, that I photographed in Cozumel.
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(s)
                              By Paul Mila, Carle Place, NY
It is widely know that all sea turtle species are listed as either "threatened" or "endangered." Since extinction is a one-way street, it is vital that we do our best to preserve these magnificent reptiles.
One of the good news stories concerning turtles is that they are thriving in Cozumel's clear, clean, protected waters. Turtle conservationists there actively mark and protect the turtles' nests -- a key preservation strategy.
Consequently, divers are treated to frequent visits from hawksbill, green, and loggerhead turtles.
We came across this little fella, a young green sea turtle, resting among soft corals and sponges.  
  Baby Green Turtle
 I moved around for a better view of the beautiful shell (carapace). Unfortunately, one of the reasons they are killed is for turtle shell jewelry. FYI, they are called "green" for the color of their meat, not their shell.
  Green Turtle shell
Turtles are air breathers, so when it was time to take a breath he/she headed rapidly toward the surface. Cozumel's water is gin-clear, so the turtle almost appeared to be flying through the air.
Turtle Rising
Turtle Rising
On another dive we saw these two hawksbill turtles, doing the "turtle tango" far below us.
Was it a mating dance? A dominance contest? Or simply a turf battle? Who knows.
But it was a unique and entertaining experience.
Turtle Tango
 Featured Creature . . .
            Spotted Drums . . .
               . . .and their cousins, the Jack Knife Fish

 The Spotted Drum Fish (juveniles lack the spots) is a beautiful, but shy and elusive fish to photograph. Below are photos Mike Boyd took of a youngster and a mature Drum, sporting its spots: 

 juvenile drum fish

 Mike's Story,

"If you could add eyeballs and gills to a feather, you would end up with .... a Juvenile Spotted Drumfish.
 They are one of the most graceful critters you can find underwater. This is the not yet grown up version

They are very tiny, shy and nervous .... which makes them a challenge to photograph.
 But they are very territorial, confine themselves to a small area, and like to swim in repetitive patterns .... so if you are patient, you can usually get a pixture."


 spotted drum fish 

"This fine fellow is an adult Spotted Drumfish.
 Drumfish, you say .... this looks nothing like a drum.  And that is true, because they are named for the sound they make .... not the way they look.

 This is an adult Spotted Drum but even so, they are not large .... typically 6-9 inches long. During the day you will find them under ledges or near the opening of small caves .... swimming in repetitive patterns. 

 They are nocturnal feeders, leaving the protection of their ledge or hole only at night .... to feed."


Thanks for sharing, Mike. 

To follow Mike's Blog click: Mike's Scuba Pictures

 The Jack Knife -

In Cozumel I shot video of what I thought was a pair of juvenile drums. However, dive master Eduardo, subbing for Alison, informed us they were jack knife fish, related to spotted drums but more rare.

Like their spotted cousins, you can see how shy and difficult they are to photograph.

My Edited Video
Jack Knife Fish in Cozumel; Paul Mila video
About is your home for exciting dive adventure novels (in both e-format and print format), YouTube videos featuring ocean creatures, and more.
My new adventure novel, Near Miss was released in December, through Amazon,, all online channels, and by request at local bookstores.
Next month it will be available electronically on all other E-book platforms, including Nook.
Discounted, signed copies can be ordered by sending an email to
MilaBooks Logo
Click on the reading dolphin and swim
 into our website



Thanks for visiting, and 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
Story Behind The Photo(s)...Thailand Diving...By...Tony Gartner...I met Tony & Cody Gartner diving i...
Conservation Corner: SAVE THOSE WHALES . . .Again!...
Featured Articles: 
Sea Turtles Thriving

Spotted Drums and their Cousins, the Jack Knife Fish


Lower left column.
 Quick Links
Updates &
Miscellaneous Features


 Killer Whales In Aquariums
. . . A Good Idea?
The debate about keeping marine mammals in captivity, especially orcas (killer whales) and their smaller cousins, dolphins, has intensified in recent years.
On the one hand, yes, they are "ambassadors for their species." The exposure humans have had to whales & dolphins has led to political pressure to eliminate whaling and killing dolphins.
But much has been learned about cetacean intelligence and social structure, especially the realization that whales and dolphins have a sense of "self," a capacity previously thought the unique domain of humans and higher primates.
Consequently, the argument has moved to the morality of keeping such intelligent beings in captivity.
An orca facility, such as Sea World, seems huge if you are comparing it to a swimming pool. But these creatures are meant to roam thousands of miles of ocean, so one wonders how they feel about their confinement.
It should not surprise us when scripted performances go wrong.
In the first video, this orca probably had no ill intent, otherwise it could have snapped this girl's leg, which  it held  firmly in its jaws, toward the end of the video.  
Killer Whale Attacks Unsuspecting Girl
Killer Whale Attacks Unsuspecting Girl
In the second video, it seems the orcas welcomed the opportunity to revert to their wild state for a few minutes, as they ignored their trainers and enjoyed the thrill of the kill:  
Shamu attacks and kills Pelican during show
Shamu Attacks And Kills Pelican
During Show
  * * * * * * * * *
Sea Shepherd Update
It's that time of year, when the Sea Shepherds are once again confronting Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary. They have dubbed this year's campaign as Operation Zero Tolerance.
In Captain Paul Watson's words,
"We have a shiny new ship, our vessels are stocked, our crew is prepared, and we are eager to meet the Japanese whaling fleet once again in the Southern Ocean to defend, conserve, and protect our clients, the great whales. No doubt, it will be a challenging season, but we are up to the test and remain 100% committed to defending the integrity of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary." 

 To learn more, click below:
* * * * * * * * *
 Off-Beat Humor Department
Our Tricky Language
Sea-gram fan Andy Guiliano sent in this oceanic tidbit:
I was in a pub on Saturday night. Had a few drinks . . .
I noticed two very large women by the bar. They both had strong accents, so I asked, "Hey. Are you two ladies from Scotland?"
One of them turned to me and screamed, "It's WALES, you IDIOT!!"
So I immediately apologized and said, "Sorry . . . Are you two whales from Scotland?"
That's all I remember.

 * * * * * * * * *
  Beautiful Ocean Art
In Cozumel I had the opportunity to meet Barbara Petersen, a very talented artist working in many mediums.
In Barbara's words, "Welcome to my site where you will be transported to a place where the beauty of the tropics prevails."
Barbara's paintings, photos and other products feature her artwork and photography:
Mousepads, greeting cards, calendars, bags and jewelry make great gifts for ocean lovers.
And for your little fish, her delightful book, Come With Me Let's Explore The Sea.
Check out her website below:
* * * * * * * * *
Sea-gram reader Terry Gallogly sent in this link to a unique video, compressing time from The Big Bang until present day, in a couple of minutes:
 * * * * * * * * *
A fun dive site, where you can rent a beach front condo, view great dive photos, and more!




 * * * * * * * *

 Whenever I visit Cozumel, the next Sea-gram always is "Cozumel-Centric."

I always return with incredibly interesting photos, videos, and memories of fun, sun, and margaritas.

This issue is a good example.


Want to learn more about visiting or purchasing your own

"Slice Of Paradise?"


Contact these Cozumel experts for some good information:



Check out this great website & newsletter for the latest info and "goings-on" about Cozumel:

 Cozumel - 4 - You


* * * * * * * * *
Scuba Network
For the best in scuba diving, including basic & advanced lessons, continuing education, equipment sales & repair, and world-wide dive adventures, visit Scuba Network of Long Island, located on Old Country Road in Carle Place.
More information on their website:
* * * * * * * * *
Available Link! Post a link to your web site here!
E-mail for details.
Join Our Mailing List
If a friend forwarded Sea-gram to you and you'd like to receive future issues, let us know. Click the JOIN link above, or e-mail me at