July, 2013
For ocean lovers, divers, and 
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 Cozumel Reef     

Assorted Corals and Sponges at Palancar Gardens, Cozumel Mexico, Paul Mila photo©

Welcome to the July Sea-gram,
      the monthly newsletter from
I just returned from my favorite dive spot on earth, Cozumel Mexico, where I had fun diving with my resident dive buddy,
Fulvio of the Deep
The headline photo above, featuring a small sample of the underwater explosion of color, is one reason why divers love Cozumel. 
Paul, and Fulvio of the Deep
Paul diving with Fulvio of the Deep
Our dive operator was Cozumel's best,
Alison Dennis of
Contact Alison if you want to enjoy the ultimate Cozumel dive experience.
Cozumel is often called The Drift Diving Capital of the World, and the currents lived up to their rep on this trip.  
We were photographing a hawksbill turtle and its angelfish entourage, sheltered from the current by a giant coral head.
But when we moved out into the open The Cozumel Express had us in its grip, and all we could do was go along for the ride.  Amazingly, when our turtle friend had tired of our company, he was able to stop and go against the current . . . so we had to say goodbye.
Drift Diving With a Hawksbill Turtle
Drift Diving With a Hawksbill Turtle
This month's Story About The  Photo, Hawksbill & Friends, features a brief turtle encounter along a current-swept reef.
In this month's Conservation Corner,  we take a look at the progress of the Lionfish Invasion.
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. 
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I hope you enjoy Sea-gram !
 Paul J. Mila
 The Story Behind The Photo . . . 
         Hawksbill & Friends    
                                                  By Paul Mila
We were diving in Cozumel on French Reef, about 60 feet down, when I spotted several hovering angel fish about 70 feet ahead of us. Frequently you'll find a turtle munching on a tasty sponge in the middle of the angels, who hope to snack on the floating crumbs.
Sure enough, as the current swept us toward the area we saw a large hawksbill turtle resting on the sea floor, accompanied by a gray angel.     
HB Turtle & Angel fish 
I saw a queen angel fish approaching and tried to stop and compose a nice shot of the three-some, but the strong current made stopping difficult.
So I turned as we flew along and took the best photo I could under the circumstances.
All in all, the shot still came out pretty good.
I didn't know it but fellow diver Chris Waskow was taking a photo of me taking the turtle and angel fish.
paul shooting turtle   
This is where you want to be: Low, not shooting down, and very close, within four feet. I'm about 3 feet
away here. Also, composing the shot at a slight angle instead of a straight profile makes for a more interesting photo.
The Sea Life wide angle lens enabled me to get both angel fish in the photo, along with Mr. Turtle.
SeaLife 1400 camera with the new fisheye wide-angle lens and digital strobe. 
Conservation Corner . . .
     Lionfish Invasion Continues
For over twenty years the Pacific Lionfish has continued its inexorable spread from the South Atlantic, ranging as far North as New England and South into the Caribbean. Now they are colonizing the the Gulf region, from Mexico to the Southern U.S.
Lion Fish in North Carolina
North Carolina Lionfish; Laura Weisberg Photo
One of the few success stories has been active lionfish culling by divers in various locations such as Bonaire and Cozumel. In fact, in ten dives over five days last week I only saw one small lionfish.


However, this story sent in by Maria White indicates that scientists are now concerned abut the lionfish population dwelling below divers' usual recreational depths of 130 feet and even down to 200 feet:

 Deep-Dwelling Lionfish Concern Scientists


 Can sharks help? Sea-gram fan Jeff Reed sent us this story that even sharks tend to stay clear of lionfish:

Sharks No Match for Lionfish


 And Science News reports that Caribbean predators can't control lionfish either:

Caribbean Predators Fail to Stem Lionfish Invasion


The unwelcome conclusion:

Lionfish are here to stay, and only active fishing and human eating may help to slow their spread. 


How you can help: The next time you head for the tropics ask for lionfish on the menu. It really does taste good.

is your home for exciting dive adventure novels, including my latest Caribbean thriller,
and YouTube videos featuring ocean creatures.
Latest blog review for Near Miss:
Elizabeth McKenna, author and reviewer,
recently posted this review:
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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: Hawksbill & Friends
Conservation Corner: Lionfish Invasion Continues

Conservation Corner

Featured Article:

Lionfish Continue Invading Reefs


Story lower left column.


 Quick Links
Updates & Miscellaneous Features:
Bonnie J. Cardone,
author of The Fireside Diver,
and member of 
 Women Divers Hall of Fame,
publishes her first novel on Kindle:
The Bride Wore Black
Click on the book cover
for the Amazon link
   Bride Wore Black
And visit Bonnie's website . . .
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Strange But True . . .  
Sea-gram reader Fred Chiappetta sent us this unusual story about a very old fish:
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LALA Art Gallery Opens
Layle Stanton,
my friend, fellow diver, Aussie native,
and current Roatan Honduras resident,
recently opened her unique art gallery,
Latin American Lifestyle & Art
In Layle's words,
"LALA is a gallery of fine art and artisan home-wares from the indigenous people of Latin America, featuring paintings, textiles, jewelry, wood carving, metal work and ceramics. Each piece is purchased directly from the artist (or artisan cooperative); made by hand using traditional and sustainable methods; and provides an insight to the cultural heritage of a Latin American indigenous people."
Click the link or Layle's photo below for more information:


Layle at LALA
Layle Stanton at her Roatan art gallery
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Whale News 


Fishermen Save Endangered

Northern Right Whale

Click the link for this short, but inspirational, video:

Whale Rescue 


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Sea Shepherd



 Following up Operation Zero Tolerance, last year's successful campaign that saved over 900 whales from the deadly tips of Japanese harpoons, Paul Watson's Sea Shepherd Conservation Organization is launching its 10th campaign.

Click the link below to see the details and a short video:

  Operation Relentless




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 Fin Whales Spared

In last month's Sea-gram we wrote about some tycoon planning to use endangered fin whale meat for dog food. Sea-gram reader Tish Dace sent in this update from Avaaz, with a happy ending:


Saving Fin Whales from Butchery


"When an Icelandic tycoon launched his brutal summer hunt to turn endangered fin whales into dog food, Avaaz launched a campaign to stop him shipping the bloody carcasses to Japan.

Over 1.1 million of us convinced Dutch politicians to commit to closing Dutch ports. Then we showed up again in Germany when he tried to reroute his shipments through Hamburg. The German Environment Ministry responded to Avaazers' messages right away on Twitter and -- working closely with Greenpeace, together we created the pressure that got the whale meat put right back on a ship to Iceland!

The German government has now asked the port to refuse all future whale meat shipments, 200,000 Avaaz members in Germany are now asking the nation's biggest supermarket to stop selling products linked to the whaling company and we're chasing down the whaler's other routes to profit until he realizes he has to stop killing fin whales." 


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The Shark or the Octopus ?     

Sea-gram fan Martha Weisberg sent us this amazing video. Who wins? Place your bets, then watch:
Octopus Kills Shark
Who Wins?


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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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