Of God and Blue-Footed Boobies
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Venturers Aboard a Panga
at Pinnacle Rock on Bartolomé Island
"The whalers used to talk about walking
on the backs of sea turtles to get to shore," Strand tells
a large group gathered in the Polaris' lounge to hear his lecture
on marine ecology. "What I've learned is that we're very good
at taking a resource and depleting it, but we're not very good at
Snorkeling gives us a chance to get close to the remarkably diverse
marine life in the Galápagos — sometimes a little too
close. At Champion Islet, we swim mask-to-whiskers with sea lions
and consider ourselves clever to spot a stone scorpion fish camouflaged
against the rocks. The scenery is spectacular but at the lunch buffet
later, Gary Fowler '73, M.S. '73, Ph.D. '76 can tell something is
awry. His left ear aches, as if water is trapped next to his eardrum.
The irritation persists as he settles in for his siesta. Lying in
bed, Fowler is startled by a strange sensation, like water draining
from his ear. Lifting his head, he sees a tiny gray crab scuttle
across the pillow.
As we ride in our "black limousine"
— an inflatable rubber boat that ferries us between the Polaris
and the islands we are visiting — Teresa Siriani '82 shares
some grim news. "Troy Glaus is out. Shoulder surgery,"
she says, relaying the latest development about the injured Anaheim
Angels third baseman and former Bruin star. Siriani picked up this
nugget in an e-mail from her boyfriend, Jim.
Siriani, at 43, is the youngest Bruin on the trip. She is a tanned
brunette with a 100-watt smile. The Galápagos trip wasn't
her idea. The outdoorswoman in the family is her mom, Juanita Siriani
'52, a retired teacher from Garden Grove. Juanita Siriani had planned
to go to the Galápagos with her best friend, a sorority sister
from UCLA, but when the friend had to cancel she called the youngest
of her four daughters.
"Uh, I don't know, Mom," came her daughter's hesitant
reply. The president of a firm that specializes in human-resources
research and consulting for the restaurant industry, Teresa Siriani
wasn't sure that hanging out with iguanas that spray saltwater from
their nostrils was her idea of a relaxing idyll. But here she is,
the wind against her face, looking like she's having the time of