June 2016
For ocean lovers, divers, and 
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Stoplight Parrot and Banded Butterfly Fish on Columbia Shallows, Cozumel Mexico. Paul Mila Photo
Welcome to the June Sea-gra m  from  .

I just returned from my favorite place, Cozumel, Mexico.     Coming back from a dive, I met a friend who was fishing from our beach at the Residencias Reef.

This month's C onservation Corner, Our Plastic Oceans, discusses the serious issue of plastics discarded in our oceans.
Our Story Behind the Photo(s) article, Whacked By A Hawksbill, takes a look at what can go wrong when you're in the right spot for a good photo but your subject has other ideas, and the current complicates things. 
This 5-second video shows what happened from my perspective, while diver Ethan Brodsky caught the action with still photos. Read our full photo story below.
Whacked By A Hawksbill
Whacked By A Hawksbill
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
t  Conservation Corner
                      Our Plastic Oceans  

Just a short 10-minute walk along the high-tide line at Jones Beach in Long Island, NY, yielded this plastic trash:
Note the small boy in the left side of the photo playing in the surf. What kind of ocean will we leave to our children & grandchildren?
Sea turtles ingest plastic, mistaking it for one of their favorite foods: jellyfish. But they cannot digest plastic, so they eventually get sick and die.
Photo Source - Public Domain

Read this article from
Sea birds also ingest plastic objects, such as the plastic cigarette lighter visible inside this decaying dead bird.
Dead Albatross
Ocean mammals, dolphins, whales & seals, are affected by ocean plastic, as are land mammals -- i.e., humans. Fish consume plastics, and then we eat the fish, so at a molecular level some ends up inside our bodies.

 If you'd like to learn more, read this report prepared by Greenpeace:
Simple things we can do to help:
1. Purchase products that are reusable instead of disposable.
2. Look for paper-based packaging instead of plastic.
3. When you walk along a beach bring a small bag and simply pick up plastic litter that washes up on shore.
4. Don't leave trash, plastic or otherwise, behind!

 Story Behind the Photo(s) . . .
                       Whacked By a Hawksbill
                                         by Paul Mila, Carle Place, Long Island,
                             and Ethan Brodsky, Madison, Wisconsin.
In my underwater photography class I teach students to get that great head-on photo by swimming low near the bottom, and letting sea life come toward you. Your subject will always turn at the last second and then you snap a great photo. But this turtle never read my book.
Diver Ethan Brodsky was hovering above me and captured all the action on San Francisco Wall:

Paul: "Ok, this should be a good shot, I'm in position."
Ethan: "Man, he's in the perfect spot to get a shot looking up at that turtle."

Paul: "Uh oh! Darn current is pushing me into the turtle"
Ethan: "I hope he's got his camera set up. Does it get any more perfect than, ... um, uh, is that turtle going to ram him?"

Paul: "I'm gonna get whacked!"
Ethan: "WHA?!? Did the turtle really just boop him with its     flipper?"

Paul: "Feels like I got hit with a rubber hose! Gotta keep shooting!
Ethan: <glancing down> "Good, I've still got my finger down."  <glancing back up> "Well, he seems fine ... That wasn't how I was expecting that to go."
Ethan's equipment and shooting technique:
"I shoot with a Canon S95 in an Ikelite housing, W-30 wide-angle lens, and Inon strobes, all in a home-made tray. 
In hopes of encountering situations like these, I always keep the camera in 'continuous mode', so it focuses on a half-press and then shoots continuously at ~2 frames/s as long as I hold the button down."
is your home for exciting dive adventure novels
and YouTube videos featuring various ocean creatures.
Bubbles Up - 
Available now, from! 
A nonfiction foray into Planet Ocean, with coauthors 
Judy Hemenway & Paul Mila.
Purchase the print version of Bubbles Up
& get the kindle e-book, with color photos, for FREE!
Click on the book cover for ordering information:
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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.

Conservation Corner:

Our Plastic Oceans


Story Behind the Photo(s):

Whacked By a Hawksbill


Stories lower left column.

Quick Links
Updates & Miscellaneous Features

How Fast Can A Turtle Swim?
We were doing our 3-minte safety stop on Palancar Reef when a free diver descended from a boat. He was chasing a juvenile green turtle. When the diver got too close the little turtle bolted -- fast!
Turtle Escapes From Free Diver
Turtle Escapes From Free Diver

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Dragon Tongue?
Sea-gram fan Martha Weisberg sent us this interesting story:

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A Substitute for Deadly Plasti c

Martha Weisberg also sent us this story, which appeared in Undercurrent Magazine. A very timely article, related to our Conservation Corner story about plastics in the oceans:

While federal law requires six-pack rings to be 100 percent photodegradable, they entrap fish, turtles, and seabirds. A small brewery at Delray Beach FL has developed an edible six-pack ring made from barley and wheat remnants leftover from the brewing process. The Saltwater Brewery hopes that its edible packaging will influence change in the brewing world by feeding the marine life rather than doing it harm.
Here's the video story:
Edible 6-pack Rings That Save Turtles & Sea Life
Edible 6-pack Rings That Save Turtles & Sea Life

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Author Jonathan Balcombe
(What A Fish Knows)
s ent in this heartwarming video about a sheepshead wrasse and a Japanese diver who have been best friends for 25 years:
Diver & His Fish Friend
Diver & His Fish Friend

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Two Great Books
I just finished reading Jonathan Balcombe's fascinating new book,
What A Fish Knows 
Do fishes think? Do they really have three-second memories? And can they recognize the humans who peer back at them from above the surface of the water?
In What a Fish Knows, the myth-busting ethologist Jonathan Balcombe addresses these questions and more.
Simply click on the book cover for more information or to order a copy.



For you freshwater fans, author Nancy Washburne's book about snorkeling Michigan's lakes is fascinating.
Simply click on the cover for more information or to order a copy.


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  Sea Shepherd Update
For the latest Sea Shepherd conservation initiatives, including their sea turtle defense campaign, Operation Jairo II, visit:

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  A Great Newsletter !
If you don't subscribe to Ben Davison's 
  Undercurrent Magazine,  you should.
It is informative, and full of good tips on travel, dive equipment and more
Check it out:

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Check out my Cozumel Mexico beachfront condo on VRBO:
Condo Details
Here is your view from the condo:
Morning at the Residencias Reef Beachfront Condo
Morning at the Residencias Reef Beachfront Condo
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New York Diving 
Scuba Network of Long Island
Sales, Service, Basic and Advanced 
Dive Instruction
Local Diving & Exotic Dive Trips

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

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For the best in Cozumel diving, 
check out Alison Dennis:
Looking for your own Slice of Paradise ?
Contact Nancy Edwards at Cozumel Living: 
Jaime Ramirez at:
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Available Links
Post a link to your web site on 
 for details.
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