March, 2013
For ocean lovers, divers, and "deep-thinkers."

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 Cozumel Eagle Rays

       Eagle Rays Fly In Formation; Eagle Ray Alley, Cozumel Mexico, Paul Mila photo

Welcome to the March Sea-gram,
      the monthly newsletter from
Budget cuts may have grounded the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels, but as the headline photo above shows, Cozumel's eagle rays are flying in formation into the deep blue yonder.
Sea-gram is usually more Cozumel-centric when I return from my favorite place on earth, and this issue is no exception.
Fulvio & Paul at Eagle Ray Wall

Dive Buddies Fulvio Cuccurullo & Paul, Mila

Waiting for the Eagle Rays, Cozumel Mexico

I had always wanted to dive Cozumel's Eagle Ray Alley, ever since I heard about the schooling eagle rays that gather at the northern end of the island during the winter months.
In these two short YouTube clips, you can see the rays  approach out of the blue, and then fly past us:
Eagle Rays in Formation
Eagle Rays Approach in Formation
Eagle Ray Flyby
Eagle Ray Flyby

In this issue's Story About The  Photo section, read about what it was like to dive with the amazingly beautiful eagle rays of Cozumel.

If you have a 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,
Saving Manta Rays, highlights the threats to these magnificent animals, and what we can do to prevent their extinction. 
If you know someone who would enjoy reading Sea-gram, perhaps a friend in need of a winter "dive fix", please forward Sea-gram 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

The Story Behind The Photo(s) . . . 
       The Majestic Eagle Rays of Cozumel             
                        By Paul Mila, Carle Place, NY 
 Eagle Ray in Cozumel 
Papa Hog's dive operation took us north to Eagle Ray Alley, where Cozumel's eagle rays are known to gather during the winter months. No one knows where the rays go for the rest of the year, but they arrive in Cozumel every November and hang around through March.
Eddie, our dive master, instructed us to descend quickly to the top of the wall, around 70 feet, and then further to 90 feet. He went down to 120 feet to see if the rays were playing deep. The currents at that location are strong, tending to sweep you off the wall, so you must hang onto a convenient rock or sponge waiting for the rays to show up.
Suddenly, several rays appeared out of the blue gloom, "flying" along the edge of the wall approaching in formation. Eddie had told us to remain calm and not approach or chase the shy animals because that would spook them. Our patience was rewarded as they soon became curious. After a fly-by they looped around and treated us to some close encounters.
Eagle rays checking us out  
The culmination of the experience was when one large ray veered toward me and "flew" right over my head. WOW! Click below.
Eagle Ray Flyover
Eagle Ray Fly-over
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Equipment: SeaLife 1400 camera with HD video.
1. For subjects more than six feet away set camera to non-flash mode and shoot using ambient light.
2. If your subjects are moving rapidly, set your focus to infinity to reduce camera's lag time trying to focus.
3."Know" your camera. Learn how to switch quickly from video to still mode, and vice versa. Very important when the action is intense and things are happening very fast.
Conservation Corner . . .
    Saving Manta Rays                             
Manta Rays, the Eagle Rays larger cousins, are under intense pressure as Asian demand for their gill rakers to make exotic potions drives fishing.
These short, very informative videos from Shark Savers Conservation Organization highlight the problem. The last video, Manta's Last Dance is beautiful and inspirational:  
Sir Richard Branson PSA - Protect Manta Rays
Sir Richard Branson PSA - Protect Manta Rays

The Global Threat to Manta and Mobula Rays
The Global Threat to Manta and Mobula Rays
Mantas Last Dance
Mantas Last Dance

About is your home for exciting dive adventure novels, YouTube videos about ocean creatures, and more.
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Click 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
The Story Behind The Photo: The Majestic Eagle Rays of Cozumel
Conservation Corner: Saving Manta Rays

Conservation Corner Featured Article:

Saving Manta Rays

Three short videos highlight the danger to rays caused by human predation.

Story lower left column.


 Quick Links
Updates & Miscellaneous Features:
In Memoriam 
While in Cozumel I learned that Cozumel dive legend Rosendo Espejel had passed away.
I had the pleasure of diving with Rosendo twice, on his signature "Special Effects" dive which he invented.
Rosendo and his divers would descend to 120 feet, far off one of Cozumel's walls into the deep blue. The divers then approached the wall, which appeared as a panorama of sponge and coral.
It was a unique experience.
Rosendo was a true gentleman, and will be missed by the Cozumel community.


I captured a few seconds of Rosendo, wearing hood and yellow tank, leading Layle Stanton and me toward the shallows after the deep part of his "special effects" dive:

Rosendo Espejel
Rosendo Espejel


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Book Signing at

La Cocay, Fabulous Cozumel Restaurant


The main purpose of this trip was to attend the book signing for my latest Cozumel dive thriller,

Near Miss , sponsored by

La Cocay restaurant.

Click below to see the photo- story of the event:

Near Miss Book Signing


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Honduran Art Gallery Opening Soon
Roatan-based Diver Layle Stanton, the real life inspiration behind the fictional heroine in Near Miss (Layle's Story), is opening her own art gallery.
Read about Layle's  exciting adventures as she travels through Central America and Mexico collecting art for her Roatan gallery, Latin American Lifestyle and Art:
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Plankton With A Mind of Their Own
Sea-gram fan Jeff Reed sent in this fascinating story about a recent scientific finding that microscopic plankton may have a collective consciousness:

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 Gray Whales Rebound
Sea-gram reader Fred Chiappetta sent in this uplifting story about the rebound in the California Gray Whale population:


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Happy Ending

for a Humpback

 Rescuers in Maui, Hawaii were able to free a humpback entangled in fishing gear:

Humpback Whale Freed


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Sea Shepherd

Campaign Update


The Sea Shepherd Conservation Organization's anti-whaling fleet is sailing  home after confronting Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean.

For details on their successful 2012/2013 campaign click below:

Campaign Details


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

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Great Cozumel Information Resource
Whether you want to advertise a service, or just find out what's going down on the island, check out Laura Wilkinson's fabulous local newsletter:
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BTS Annual Show
America's largest annual scuba show, Beneath The Sea, takes place March 22 to 24 in New Jersey.
Click the link below for details.
I'll be signing copies of Near Miss on March 24th, so stop by the Author's Booth and say "hello."
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Available Link!
Post a link to your web site here!
E-mail for details.
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