|MilaBooks.com Newsletter |
For ocean lovers, divers, and "deep-thinkers."
Diving Hawksbill, Cozumel Mexico, Paul Mila photo©
Welcome to the April Sea-gram,
This month, sea turtles are on the agenda.
I was able to take this great headline photo above, a hawksbill turtle diving, by observing their habits when they rise to the surface to breath.
I noticed they like to return to the bottom as fast as possible. I suppose turtles know that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. So if you anticipate their path, you can get a great shot.
To see what it looks like when a turtle is diving straight down toward you, check out this short YouTube clip (the sound you hear is a passing boat. Underwater noise pollution!):
|Turtle Diving in Cozumel|
Last month the folks from the annual Beneath The Sea scuba expo in New Jersey granted me a spot at their author's booth.
I was signing my new Caribbean mystery thriller,
Near Miss, when friends Charlene, Lisanne and Yannich stopped by to say "hello."
Charlene, Paul, Lisanne, and Yan at the BTS author booth
Bonnie and Larry McKenna, who are on a mission to save leatherback sea turtles from extinction, were at the neighboring booth.
Larry is the founder of S.O.L.O:
Save Our Leatherbacks Operation.
Click on their website to learn more about this very worthwhile cause:
Larry's work with endangered leatherback sea turtles is featured in this month'sConservation Corner, below.
This month's Story About The Photo section
features some comic relief, as my friend, Cayman Island dive buddy Frank Kaufman, Gets a Hickey From a Stingray.
If you have a 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.
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I hope you enjoy Sea-gram !
Paul J. Mila
The Story Behind The Photo . . .
He Got A Hickey From A Stingray!
By Frank Kaufman
Frank took a day off from diving to snorkel with the rays at Cayman's famous Stingray City, when he ran into this amorous critter.
In Frank's words:
"My daughter Casey took the shot with my SeaLife800 Digital Camera. It was in the afternoon and we were all playing with the Rays. They were all very receptive to the interactions with so many people, and they seemed to enjoy being around all the people in the water.
We stayed about an hour with the rays and got to touch them, feed them, and swim with them. It was a wonderful experience for all.
"This stingray was a lot of fun. I got to kiss it and it also rubbed my back. It was so playful that I was able to hold it in my arms like a cat. It was a wonderful experience which I will never forget!!"
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Conservation Corner . . .
Larry McKenna's work takes him to the remote land of Papua, Indonesia, home to the Aboriginal Papauans, and site of the largest leatherback sea turtle nesting beach, about 18 kilometers long and up to 100 meters wide.
Larry describes the scene on the beach:
"The only illumination is a reflection of moon light on the white foam of a breaking wave. All is quiet, except the gentle lapping of the surf while we wait for a living dinosaur to exit the sea and laboriously climb the slope of the beach.
She will locate where she was hatched 12 or more years ago, repeating the 150-million-year drive to reproduce so the species may survive. Left alone, this ancient hatching process would continue unimpeded, but humans have introduced the specter of extinction of this most valuable creature of the seas."
|The Eye of a Leatherback Turtle During Nesting Trance|
When the leatherback selects her nesting spot and begins to dig a four-foot-deep nest, she goes into a trance and does not recognize any activity. Enlightened humans can approach and marvel at the amazing beauty nature provides.
However, while she is in this egg-laying trance the nesting female is in danger from other humans: those who would slit her throat and use her skin for handbags and fashion items, in addition to senseless killings, egg poaching, and trophy collecting.
Global warming poses another threat, as high tides drown nests and heat cooks the eggs in their shells.
Leatherback hatchlings are about four inches long and cannot crawl over a twig. Yet they must face a host of jungle predators at nesting beaches, such as wild pigs dogs, salt water crocodiles, crabs, and pythons.
Larry's activities include relocating eggs from tidal nests into bamboo pens, and excavating the nests that hatched in the night to examine the remains and determine what happened to unhatched eggs.
In almost every nest he finds several comatose hatchlings, which ran out of air climbing upward to freedom.
He places an unconscious hatchling in the palm of a guest's hand and encourage him/her to give it "leatherback CPR" by softly blowing into its face and nose. Soon it begins to wiggle and wants to be set on the sand. All the volunteers have tears in their eyes because they have just given life to a leatherback baby which would have become crab food later in the day.
How you can help:
1. Should you wish to experience this truly exciting and memorable visit to the leatherbacks, along with some of the best diving in the world, please contact P.J. Campagna, a very dedicated foundation volunteer, for the details:
2. Watch this short youtube video (which includes donation information), placing you right there on the nesting beach, but which also shows some of the ATROCITIES humans inflict on these gentle giants:
LEATHERBACK TURTLES NEED YOUR HELP RIGHT NOW!
The above text, information, and photos are used with permission, from Larry's article: To Touch A Dinosaur.
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Read about Larry McKenna's crusade to save endangered leatherback turtles from extinction.
Story lower left column.
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Updates & Miscellaneous Features:
Fun & Games Dept.
What Kind of Shark Are You?
Sea-gram fan and free-lance editor Lorraine Fico-White of
sent in this interactive test to determine your "shark personality."
Take the quiz and see what kind of shark you are:
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Chompy the Shark
It's a routine fishing day for this kayaker -- until Chompy shows up. Pretty funny!
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Speaking About Sharks
appears in their new video promoting shark conservation.
One of the Shark Angels, Julie, strokes a very large tiger shark in the video.
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A Surprise Encounter
These divers have no idea what's coming their way!
(Advance to the 3:15 mark in this
A Surprise Diving Encounter with a Humpback Whale
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The Institute of Cetacean Research, the front organization for Japan's illegal whaling program, has released their kill report for 2012/2013.
Here is the official scorecard from Sea Shepherd's recently concluded Operation Zero Tolerance:
Japan wanted 50 Humpbacks. They took none!
Japan wanted 50 Fin whales.
They took none!
Japan wanted 935 Minke whales. They killed 103!
832 Minke whales saved!
50 Humpbacks and 50 Fins not slaughtered!
Congratulations, Sea Shepherd!
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Several years ago I traveled to the Dominican Republic's humpback whale sanctuary in the Silver Bank with Joan Ocean and friends.
That trip, and the photo I took of this baby humpback, inspired the story behind my anti-whaling novel, Whales' Angels
Joan Ocean and her friends recently completed another visit with the humpbacks of the Silver Bank this past February, which included an unexpected bonus: whale shark encounters!
Click below to see some of photographer Lisa Denning's fantastic images, as she documented all the encounters:
2013 Humpback Whale Visit
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BP SPILL IMPACT
Sea-gram reader Jeff Reed sent in this story about the latest troubling findings regarding the impact of the BP oil spill and the methods used to contain and eradicate the oil:
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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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Scuba Flea Market
Sea-gram friend and Long Island diver Linda Gotti told us about a local dive-related flea market:
Long Island's Largest Flea Market for the Diving Community (This year to include fishing, boating and water sports) Saturday, April 27th, 2013.
At the Knights of Columbus 400 South Broadway, Lindenhurst New York 11757 from 8:00 AM to 2:30 PM.
Kids under 12 Free!
Buy, Sell or Trade your SCUBA gear, dive artifacts, old bottles, fishing tackle, boating gear or any other water sports related things you have.
(Dealers $ Shops Welcome)
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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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