English for Teachers/Unit 6

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Unit 6


Comprehensive Reading

A South Seas Adventure

Everyone wishes he were an adventurer. Deep-sea diving, sailing, and exploring are all adventurous pastimes that we ourselves cannot usually experience. For this reason we like to read adventure books.

The following real-life adventure took place in 1947. Thor Heyerdahl, a Norweigan, decided to try sailing from Peru to Polynesia. He believed Polynesia was settled by Peruvian Indian tribesmen. The trip would test his theory. If he was successful, his theory would be believed. But if he failed, he would probably die.

He and seven friends built a balsa wood raft by themselves. It was a replica of the ancient Indian ones. Once off the coast, ocean currents and trade winds swept the raft away into the Pacific. Living on the raft was dangerous. High waves pummelled the tiny raft and could wash a man away if he was not careful. If someone went overboard, he would be lost since the raft could not turn around.

Turning back was inpossible. They sent out and received radio messages, but saw no other humans during their voyage. After ninety-seven days, the raft was blown onto a coral reef. It was almost destroyed by the pounding waves but the men get across the reef to land. The island was part of Polynesia. Soon natives came over to the island and took them back to their village for a feast. All night long the men celebrated their success.