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UCLA Magazine Summer 2004
Of God and Blue-Footed Boobies
The Providential Scholar
Of the Community, By the Community, For the Community
Good Fellows
The Perfect Storm
The Next Step
Visual Road Trip
Coming Home
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Summer 2004
Of God and Blue-Footed Boobies
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At Pinnacle Rock on Bartolome Island
Galápagos 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 restoring it."

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 her life.

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