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


Christmas Tree Worms
Christmas Tree Worms Growing on Star Coral, Palancar Gardens, Cozumel, Mexico, Paul Mila photo©


Welcome to the December issue of Sea-gram from
Merry Christmas & Happy Holiday Wishes to our readers.
  Chillin' out after a dive,
  on the stern of Alison's boat, Maximus
In early December we were back in Cozumel Mexico, where I found the perfect subject for this holiday issue's headline photo -- Christmas Tree Worms growing on a coral head. Read more about them in this month's  Featured Creature column, below. 
One of the most enjoyable aspects of scuba diving is the unpredictability of each dive. You never know "who" you might run into. One minute a hawksbill sea turtle might join you on Palancar Reef, . . . 
Swimming along with a hawksbill turtle in Cozumel
Swimming with a hawksbill turtle,
Palancar Gardens, Cozumel
  . . . and the next minute you're swimming along with a nurse shark.   
Swimming with a nurse shark, Paso de Cedral,  Cozumel
Following a nurse shark, Paso de Cedral, Cozumel
But wherever in the world you dive, excitement awaits!
Of course, not all the interesting critters live below the waves. Walking along San Francisco Beach after lunch at Carlos & Charlies with my nieces Kristen and Brittany, we stopped to hang out with a friendly pelican.
This issue's photo section below features my underwater video collection on Youtube. I hope you enjoy the videos.
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.
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.

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I hope you enjoy Sea-gram !
Paul J. Mila
  Underwater Video Cornucopia
                                                                     By Paul Mila
I have been fortunate to experience exciting diving around the world, and even more fortunate to capture many of those exciting adventures on video.
Click the link to my underwater video collection and select "who" you would like to swim with: eagle rays, barracudas, nurse sharks, moray eels and sea turtles in Cozumel, reef sharks in the Bahamas, humpback whales in Tonga, gray whales in Baja, wreck diving in Roatan, and a host of other adventures:
(At the bottom of the Youtube page, click on LOAD MORE to view additional videos.)
(Note: Tonga humpback whale footage courtesy of Rob Barrel; Bahamas reef shark footage courtesy of Stuart Coves.)
Photo Equipment:

SeaLife 1000 and 1400 Cameras set to Underwater Video mode, using natural light. 

 Featured Creature . . .
                   Christmas Tree Worms
                                        By Paul Mila, Carle Place, NY

Christmas tree worms are fascinating animals, appearing at first as plants to a casual observer. They are abundant throughout the Caribbean, making their homes encased inside the limestone skeletons of various types of living coral. They come in a wide variety of colors, greens and blues in addition to the colors pictured below.  

They measure an inch or two in diameter, and are usually found in clusters protruding from the surface of a coral head. 


Christmas tree worms settle onto the coral as floating larva and establish themselves by building a tube into the coral, usually by finding an opening created by fish which graze on the coral. They remain in their tube for life, growing their tube as the coral grows.  

Christmas Tree Worms in Cozumel

Christmas Tree Worms Growing on Brain Coral, Cozumel Mexico

Paul Mila Photo

The worms are highly sensitive to vibration, sensing water  movement, and to  fast changes in light, an indication that a predator (or a scuba diver) may be passing overhead.  

They react quickly, in the blink of an eye retracting into the protection of their tube-homes. Getting a good close up photo requires a stealthy approach by a diver, otherwise the worms disappear into the coral with lightening speed. 

is your home for exciting dive adventure novels
and YouTube videos featuring various ocean creatures.
Coming soon: Bubbles Up, a non-fiction foray into Planet Ocean, with co-author Judy Hemenway.
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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.

Featured Creature:

             Christmas Tree Worms

                           Story lower left column.


 Quick Links
Updates & Miscellaneous Features
And the winner is . . .
The Winning Book Cover, Selected By Our Sea-gram Readers


Thank You to the readers who voted last month, and helped Judy and me select the cover image for Bubbles Up from the three candidates we displayed.

We will be in touch with you and send a token of our appreciation.


The photo shows dive buddy Ken Cross, on a deep wall dive in Roatan, Honduras, in June 2012.


We plan to publish Bubbles Up during the first quarter of 2015.

We will keep you posted!


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 Speaking of Roatan . . .

If you visit Roatan, make sure you stop in at Layle Stanton's

Latin American Lifestyle & Art

Gallery and Garden Cafe



 Diver and entrepreneur Layle Stanton has expanded her art gallery to provide a great dining experience. 

Check out Layle's blog and learn how she collects her indigenous art: Layle's Blog


LALA Gallery and Garden Cafe

West Bay, Roatan

+504)9572 0433


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Whale Watching, 

A Little Too Close!

These snorkelers swam into a school of baitfish on which humpback whales were feeding.

What happened next was . . . well, take a look: 

Whales almost eat Divers (Original Version)

Whales Almost Eat Divers

(Original Version)


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Headed to Hawaii?  
Sea-gram reader Paul Stessel set us this story about the latest efforts to track tiger sharks in Hawaiian waters:

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   Sea Shepherd Update


 Check out the latest news from the

Sea Shepherd Conservation Organization:

 Sea Shepherd News



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Amazing Underwater Photography

Sea-gram reader Martha Weisberg sent in two great links to underwater photography sites.

Click and enjoy the images of these outstanding photographers: 

Alexander Safonov

Felix Salazar


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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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For the best scuba experience in the New York area, contact

Scuba Network of Long Island

Sales, Service, Basic & Advanced Dive Instruction,

Local Diving & Exotic Dive Trips


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For the best in Cozumel diving, check out: 



Looking for your Slice of Paradise ?

Contact Nancy Edwards at:



Jaime Ramirez, at:


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Post a link to your web site on Sea-gram!
 for details.


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