November  2018
     For ocean lovers, divers, and 
  MilaBooks Logo
Baby Humpback zoomed photo
Eye-to-Eye with a Baby Humpback; Paul Mila photo, Silver Bank, Dominican Republic
Welcome to the November edition of Sea-gram,  from  

This month we're revisiting one of our favorite topics: WHALES!

Most whale species are either "Threatened" or "Endangered."   We'll take a look at why, and also share an amazing whale adventure and photos with you. 

I took this month's headline photo, Eye-to-Eye with a Baby Humpback, in the Silver Bank whale sanctuary of the Dominican Republic. Looking into the eye of a whale is a transforming experience.

This short 4-minute YouTube video was taken in Tonga, South Pacific, by Rob Barrel, on a humpback whale adventure that I was fortunate to experience with friends Judy & Jon Hemenway.

If you advance to about the 3:20 mark, watch as one of the whales begins to pirouette like a 30-ton ballerina.  A few seconds later the whale actually extends a pec fin, in what appears to be an attempt to make contact with Rob. Amazing stuff!
Humpback Whales Play With Divers in Tonga; Attempt Contact
Humpback Whales Play With Divers in Tonga; Attempt Contact

This month's Conservation Corner illustrates the threats whales face from whale hunting nations, including Russia, Japan, and Iceland.
This month's  Story Behind the Photo  article features a close encounter I had with a humpback whale in Tonga, South Pacific.

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.
I hope you enjoy this issue of Sea-gram !
  Paul J. Mila
  Conservation Corner . . .
Humpbacks (and other whales) Need Our Help 
S ea-gram reader Tish Dace sent us this story about why humpback whales, known as "Singers of the Seas," are going silent. 
This can inhibit their ability to communicate, breed and find food:

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Sea-gram fan Tom Helmke sent us this horrible story with video, about a "Whale Jail" in Russia, where over 100 whales (Beluga and Orcas) are being kept in order to sell them to theme parks in China:
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A major threat is illegal whaling by Japan, and other whaling nations:
Example of Japanese Whale Research  
A minke whale bleeds to death at the end of the Yushin Maru's harpoon

Dead Whale Mother & Calf
Greenpeace volunteers photograph a dead mother & calf being hauled aboard a Japanese "research" vessel.   The ICR website sign posted just above the dead whales is the Institute for Cetacean Research, Japan's cover operation for illegal whaling.
 Story Behind the Photo . . .
                            Close Encounter
By Paul Mila
One sunny morning in the South Pacific I was snorkeling and free diving with humpbacks in Tonga, aboard the  NAI'A. My trip to the  "Far Side of the World" was to celebrate hitting "The Big 6-0
" a few months earlier.
I was watching several whales cavorting just ahead of me, when suddenly the water began to rock. I looked to my right and was startled to see a large humpback, easily 40 feet long, and weighing as many tons, surface right next to me. 
As we stared at each other for a couple of seconds I had the feeling that the whale was not as impressed with me as I was with him/her.
Close Encounter
I was using a wide-angle lens, but was so close that I only got the front third of the whale's body in the frame. 
The whale began to swim and let me tag along. I thought, "This is amazing. I'm actually swimming along with a humpback whale!"
I heard the whale take several explosive breath's, huge "whooshing" sounds, as it recharged it's massive lungs. 
Then the whale arched its back, raised its tail flukes, and dived. I took this photo, then watched, mesmerized, as it disappeared into the deep blue. I just floated, alone, and tried to comprehend what I had just experienced.
Humpback Diving  
   Humpback Diving for the Deep; Paul Mila photo

Photo Equipment:
SeaLife DC1000 camera with wide angle lens, set for ambient light, no flash.
is your home for exciting dive adventure novels, nonfiction dive stories, children's books,  and YouTube videos featuring various ocean creatures. 

In the spirit of our whale issue, check out Whales' Angels, my anti-whaling adventure/thriller.
Available from Amazon,, and at Scuba Network, Long Island.

                                         Click on the cover photo for more information:
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.

Conservation Corner: 

        Humpbacks Need Our Help!

Story Behind the Photo:
           Close Encounter

                      Stories lower left column.

Quick Links
Updates & Miscellaneous Features
Join Sea Shepherd 
For A Beach Cleanup

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society NYC volunteers are holding their second Sandy Hook Bay clean up in Sandy Hook NJ, Sunday, November 18th.
WHAT: Sandy Hook NJ Beach Cleanup
WHEN:  Sunday, November 18, 2018 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM 
WHERE:  Sandy Hook Beach - Lot B 
Hartshorne Dr. Sandy Hook, NJ 07732

For more information please contact us:
Please call 551-486-2762. We will provide bags and work gloves.  
We look forward to seeing you there!

To see Sea Shepherd's other conservation campaigns, click on:

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New York Whale Adventures!
If you live in the NYC area you don't have to venture to the far-flung corners of the globe to experience humpback whale and dolphin encounters.

Check out Gotham Whale
Click on their website for more information:
Or call: 718-938-2067

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  For Humpback Adventures in the Silver Bank, Dominican Republic,
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For Humpback Adventures in 
Tonga,  South Pacific, 
aboard the NAI'A

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If you enjoy reading non-fiction ocean adventures, including our encounters with humpback and gray whales, 
pick up a copy of 
Bubbles Up, Buoyant adventures 
i n Planet Ocean
Coauthored by Judith Hemenway and me.
Click on the book cover for more information:

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

Check out the view from the condo:
Morning at the Residencias Reef Beachfront Condo
Morning at the Residencias Reef
Beachfront Condo

Fulvio manages my  Little Slice of Paradise. 
For other properties that Fulvio manages visit his site:
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New York Diving 
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 dive operator Alison Dennis:
Looking to buy your own 
Slice of Paradise?
Contact Nancy Edwards at: 
Jaime Ramirez, at:
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Available Links!
Post a link to your web site on Sea-gram!
 for details.
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