June, 2014
For ocean lovers, divers, and 
 MilaBooks Logo

The Next Best Thing to Being There

Photo of spectators enjoying undersea wonders at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Jim Lawless photo©

The window is 90 feet wide, and extends vertically through both floors of the aquarium.      

 Welcome to the June issue of Sea-gram, from
Paul & the Pelican 
A friend and I share a pier, Cozumel Mexico
Neighbor Carol Catalano sent me some spectacular photos shot by her friend, Jim Lawless, at the Monterey Bay 
Aquarium in California.
This month's headline photo above was one of them.
Jim also made a short video of the experience.
Click the link and enjoy:
This month's Featured Creature section is about the Dancing Humpbacks of Tonga.
To see, and hear, what it was like to swim with giants, click on the short Youtube video Rob Barrel shot during our adventure, then scroll down and read the story:
Humpback Whales Play With Divers in Tonga; Attempt Contact
Humpback Whales Play With Divers in Tonga
In this issue's Story Behind The Photo, check out photographer Lia Barrett's great shot of freediver Sofia Gomez Uribe sharing space with a curious reef shark in Roatan, Honduras. 
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.
This month's Featured Creature article concerns humpback whales, who are not as safe as we thought only a month ago. 
If you know someone who would enjoy reading Sea-gram, perhaps a friend in need of an overdue "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 . . . 
            Free Diving Shark Encounter  
                                         By Lia Barrett
Here is Lia's Story Behind the Photo©:
"I took the photo of freediver Sofía Gómez Uribe a few weeks ago, at the Waihuka shark dive off Roatan, Honduras, right before the Caribbean Cup Freediving Competition."
Lia Barrett Photo (c)

"Sofia's skills as a freediver allow her to hold her breath for long periods of time, so she can approach wildlife in a less abrasive manner than people with faces full of bubbles.

Being a bubble-face myself, I marvel at her abilities and those of other freedivers, and thus find them visually, and for the general public message, ideal companions for our oceans' beloved sharks."

Lia's Equipment:
5d Mark III, 15mm fisheye lens, Aquatica housing, two Ikelite ds-150 strobes.



You can view Lia Barrett's photos on her website:


 Featured Creature(s) . . .
       The Dancing Humpbacks of Tonga
 By Paul Mila, Carle Place, NY
I traveled through the South Pacific islands of Tonga several years, aboard Rob Barrell's Nai'a, at the invitation of friends Judy Hemnway and her huband, Jon Fellows.
The mission was to snorkel and free dive with Pacific Humpback Whales, those entertaining leviathans of the deep.
The crew said, "We'll be seeing dancers." I was puzzled, and didn't know what to expect. And then we encountered them!
Looking into the deep blue, I saw two fifty-foot giants rising from the depths. They passed only about 100 feet in front of me (yes the water was that clear), rising towad the surface, sunlight reflecting off the white underside of their bodies.
Dancers they were indeed, like two olympians practicing
their synchronous swimming routine.  

"This Ain't SeaWorld, Bro!"

 Paul Mila photo, Tonga, South Pacific ©

SeaLife 1000 Camera, in non-flashmode, wide-angle lens.
A sobering thought is that humpbacks like these are in the cross hairs of Japanese harpoon guns.
Read the stories in the right-hand column.
To inquire about booking your own South Pacific adventure aboard the Nai'a, click their website:
is your home for exciting dive adventure novels,
and YouTube videos featuring ocean creatures.
MilaBooks Logo
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.

Featured Creature(s):

The Dancing Humpbacks of Tonga

 Story lower left column.


 Quick Links
Updates & Miscellaneous Features
Interesting New Book
Diver David Grindberg
has recently published
his first novel,
Rapture of the Deep


While diving is involved, the story is not strictly abut diving.


Author David Grindberg explains:

"The book is about relationships, their complexities, human nature, and what's beneath the surface of everyday life. Diving becomes a metaphor in service of that project."



Simply click the book cover to find out more, and order a copy online.


 * * * * * * *


 The Essence of "Tropicality"

Never heard of Tropicality? Neither did I, until I made it up. But that's the feeling I got when I saw Barbara Petersen's recent art work, featuring a salt-rimmed margarita nestled between an assortment of shells, including a conch, a sand dollar and a sea urchin skeleton, while a sailboat navigates a Caribbean wind-swept sea in the background.
Barbara calls it, Margaritas on the Wild
Kansas native Barbara Petersen divides her dive time between Bonaire and Cozumel, two locations that definitely provide inspiration.
If you'd like to see more of this talented artist's creations, simply click on the painting to visit her website. 
* * * * * * * * * 
A Different Kind of Diving
Looking for something a little different to get your blood pumping?
The folks at ScubaDiveAsia
 posted an interesting photo story about diving in Mozambique.
Click on this link to learn more:
* * * * * * * * *


Japan Refuses To Stop Whaling


Just when you thought the whales were safe thanks to last month's World Court ruling, Japan announced plans to resume whaling. Click the link for details:

Whale Hunt Resumes!


This story provides details about the first 30 whales killed for "research" as the hunt resumed:

Japan Kills 30 More Whales

In case anyone forgot what Japanese "whale research" looks like, here it is:

Dead Whale Mother & Calf  

Japanese whalers preparing mother & baby whales for "research."


* * * * * * * * *


   Sea Shepherd Update


 Check out the latest news from the

Sea Shepherd Conservation Organization:

 Sea Shepherd News



  * * * * * * * *

 Lionfish Battle Update


Cozumel is Winning!

 In her fabulous Cozumel Newsletter,

Cozumel 4 You,

Laura Wilkinson reports that

Cozumel's lionfish population is decreasing:


Cozumel lionfish hunters and restaurateurs have reason to celebrate: their efforts to reduce the lionfish presence in our area are successful. In a recent press release Nayeli Hernandez, a representative from CONANP announced that the lionfish population has decreased significantly within the protected areas in Cozumel compared to other Caribbean areas.

In fact, CONANP studies have shown an average of 30 lionfish/hectare in Cozumel areas as opposed to the 40-50 lionfish/hectare average in other areas. Keep up the good work and continue to hunt and enjoy this delicious reef predator.


In case anyone isn't up to speed on why lionfish are bad for eco systems where they are not meant to be, click here for the facts:

 About The Lionfish Invasion


 * * * * * * * * *

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


* * * * * * *  




For the best Scuba Experience in the NY area, contact

Scuba Network of Long Island

Sales, Service, Basic & Advanced Dive Instruction,

Local Diving & Exotic Dive Trips


*  *  *  *  *  *


For a unique Cozumel experience check out:

Fulvio provides boutique rental accommodations and rental management services.


For the best in Cozumel diving, check out: 


* * * * * * * * *

  Available Links!
Post a link to your web site on Sea-gram!
 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