Anacapa Scholar: Ian Strachan CdeP 2004

Ian returns to Casa de Piedra as an adventurer, naturalist, and photographer.
All year long, the campus welcomes visiting scholars, artists in residence, and other guests who share their special expertise. Some become members of the campus community for extended periods of time, others are here only briefly to deliver lectures or meet with students. 

Recently, we welcomed back Ian Strachan CdeP 2004, adventurer and photographer extraordinaire!

Visitor: Ian Strachan CdeP 2004, photo instructor/naturalist for Lindblad Expeditions, partnered with National Geographic

Current work: My next contract will take me to the Pacific Northwest, I'll embark in Seattle and head up the Inside Passage through British Columbia and into Southeast Alaska, looking for and at whales, bears, and eagles. Oh my!

What he did on campus: Peter Sawyer was nice enough to invite me along to help out with his Marine Biology field trip to the Channel Islands. With enough gear and food for twice the people for twice the time we spent three days exploring by kayaking along the coastline, snorkelling in the kelp forests, and hiking across the grassy hills of Santa Cruz Island. Back on campus I met with a photography class for a little refresher and gave an evening presentation on what it's like working on expedition ships all over the world and how I climbed my way up the ranks to get that position. 

His impressions of Thacher (now): The track not being dirt seemed pretty fancy....
In all seriousness I loved being back on campus, the dissonance of new and familiar was delightfully jarring. Half expecting to see classmates frozen in memory at that age walk around the corner. Not missing a word of the Banquet Song at formal dinner and the smell of the orange blossoms and stables bringing a unique olfactory nostalgia that is seared deep into some part of my brain and attached to so many positive feelings. 

I was thrilled to see that the camaraderie, caring, kindness, and intangible sense of acceptance is something that is still there.

Getting to reconnect with people like the Meyers, Dr. DelVecchio and Ms. Sawyer-Mulligan was a real treat, especially in a non-student capacity, while still being able to reminisce about shared experiences we had together from those times.

Our impressions of him:

Fortunately, I had the chance to go on a few hikes with Mr. Strachan as he took some photos for the trip. Telling stories about his time at Thacher, he also recounted his adventures as a photographer for the National Geographic Society. All the while, he took the time to offer some tips to improve my photography and explain what he looks for when scouting for potential shots. His passion for biology showed in his general enthusiasm and extensive knowledge he brought whether the group was hiking, tide-pooling, or snorkeling. Not to mention, Mr. Strachan also possessed a light-heartedness and humor that really elevated the group's experience. Overall, it was a pleasure working with Mr. Strachan and his passion and expertise illuminated the marine biology trip.—Rico Lopez '18

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