Exercise 1

A. You’re going to listen to Ali talk about her best worst experiences on the island. First, read some things she mentions. Do you think they were things she enjoyed (✓), or things she found difficult (✗)? Listen to the interview with Ali and check your ideas.

most of what we ate was yucca, which is like a potato

the water we had to wash in was the ocean

when it rained

we were meeting all these new people we’d never met before

(He) threw us out of the boat and told us to swim to the island

we had a sports day and we had a talent show

leaving the island

B. Listen again. What does she say about…?

1   a few coconuts

2   a wild boar

3   tension and arguments

4   a communal shelter

5   35 days



✗ most of what we ate was yucca, which is like a potato

✗ the water we had to wash in was the ocean

✗ when it rained

✓ we were meeting all these new people we’d never met before

✓ (He) threw us out of the boat and told us to swim to the island.

✓ we had a sports day and a talent show

✓ leaving the island


1   For the first week, they didn’t eat anything except a few coconuts.

2   They managed to kill a wild boar.

3   There was tension between the two groups, and it didn’t take much for arguments to occur.

4   The two groups came together, and they built a communal shelter on the beach in the last week.

5   Ali survived for 35 days (five weeks) on the island.


I = interviewer, A = Ali

I    What was the most difficult or challenging part of your experience?

A   Well, because you’re, um, put on the island with just the clothes on your back and a few basic tools, it means that anything you eat you have to find, catch, and kill, if necessary. So, for the first week, we didn’t eat anything at all except a few coconuts. Um, so I lost four kilos in just a week. Um, after that, most of what we ate was yucca, which is like a potato, grows in the ground. But you have to walk a lot to find it, um, and even then it would only be the equivalent of having a small potato each, um, every day. So we were still hungry. We were able to catch some fish, um, and then we did manage to kill a wild boar. And also because of the lack of food we became really weak, so it was hard you – hard even to go out for a stroll along the beach. That became really difficult. It was also difficult being dirty all the time, because the water we had to wash in, uh, was the ocean. So you’re obviously salty and covered in sand and you never really feel clean. Um, when it rained, which was all the time, the ground would become really muddy and everything would just get absolutely filthy. We had a couple of weeks where the weather was really bad, so we were completely soaked, really freezing cold, wet, miserable, and hungry. Um, and the other thing that was really difficult was the tension between the groups and also within our group, because everyone was very stressed and hungry and tired, it didn’t take much for arguments to occur, and there’s nowhere to escape from on the desert island.

I    What were the highlights?

 So at first, even just landing on the island was a highlight, um, because we were so excited and we were meeting all these new people, um, we’d never met before, and we were full of enthusiasm and energy. Um, and we just had lunch, so we weren’t hungry. Um, so when Bear Grylls picked us up on his boat and drove us around the island, um, and then he stopped in the middle of the ocean and threw us out of the boat and told us to swim to the island, um, which was so exciting. Um, and the last week was also a real highlight for me because the two groups came together and we built a communal shelter in the middle of the beach so everyone − for everyone to sleep in and to enjoy, and we had a really good time. The weather at this point, um, had turned really good and so, we had a sports day and we had a talent show, and even a wedding! It was a really fun week. Um, but I think probably leaving the island was the real highlight − best day of my life, even. Um, it was so brilliant to know that we’d survived for 35 days. And seeing Bear pull up on his boat, uh, to come and collect us was just an amazing feeling. I felt both really proud and super relieved.

I   Out of the 16 people that landed on the island, 13, including Ali, managed to last the whole five weeks. Two participants decided to leave before the end, and unfortunately, one had to go to the hospital with an eye injury. By the last week, the participants had all realized that they were much more effective working together as one big team than trying to survive in separate groups. How much money they earned, or what their background was, turned out to be completely irrelevant. Both teams worked hard, kept their morale high, and survived.

Exercise 2

A. You are going to listen to part of a documentary and find out what happened to the four men. After each part, answer the questions.

1   What happened to Kevin and Yossi on the raft?

2   What piece of luck did Yossi have?

Whose situation would you rather have been in, Kevin’s or Yossi’s? Why?

3   How were Kevin and Yossi feeling?

4   What happened to Yossi on his first night alone in the jungle?

What would you have done if you had been in Yossi’s situation?

5   Why did Yossi’s spirits change from desperate to optimistic, and then to desperate again?

How would you have felt at this point? What do you think had happened to Kevin?

6   What had Kevin been doing all this time?

7   What did Kevin decide to do?

8   Why was he incredibly lucky?

If you had been Kevin, what would you have done now?

 How did Kevin first try to get help?

10   Why was it unsuccessful?

11   What was his last attempt to find his friend?

12   How long had Yossi been on his own in the jungle? How was he?

13   What did he think the buzzing noise was? What was it?

What do you think might have happened to Marcus and Karl?


1   They were both thrown into the water when the raft hit a rock.

2   He swam to the river bank and found their backpack floating in the river, with food, insect repellent, a lighter, and the map.

3   Kevin was feeling desperate and responsible for what had happened to Yossi. Yossi was feeling optimistic because he was sure he would find Kevin.

4   A jaguar came near him, but he frightened it away.

5   Because he was exhausted and starving. Then he saw footprints which he thought were Kevin’s and followed them. Then he realized they were his own.

6   He had been looking for Yossi.

7   He decided to save himself and let himself float down the river.

8   He was rescued by two (Bolivian) hunters.

 He went to an army base and asked them to look for Yossi.

10   Because the plane had to fly too high over the dense forest, so they couldn’t see anything.

11   He paid a local man with a boat to take him up the river.

12   Three weeks. He was starving, exhausted, and losing his mind.

13   A bee. It was the engine of the boat Kevin was in.


1 2

Yossi and Kevin soon realized that going by river was a big mistake. The river got faster and faster, and soon they were in rapids.

The raft was swept down the river at an incredible speed until it hit a rock. Both men were thrown into the water. Kevin was a strong swimmer and he managed to swim to land, but Yossi was swept away by the rapids.

But Yossi didn’t drown. He was carried several miles downriver by the rapids, but he eventually managed to swim to the riverbank. He was totally exhausted. By an incredible piece of luck, he found their backpack floating in the river. The backpack contained a little food, insect repellent, a lighter, and most important of all…the map. But the two friends were now separated by a canyon and three or four miles of jungle.


3 4 

Kevin was feeling desperate. He didn’t know if Yossi was alive or dead, but he started walking downriver to look for him. He felt responsible for what had happened to his friend because he had persuaded him to go with him on the river.

Yossi, however, was feeling very optimistic. He was sure that Kevin would look for him, so he started walking upriver, calling his friend’s name. But nobody answered.

At night Yossi tried to sleep, but he felt terrified. The jungle was full of noises. Suddenly, he woke up because he heard a branch breaking. He turned on his flashlight. There was a jaguar staring at him…

Yossi was trembling with fear. But then he remembered something that he had once seen in a movie. He used the cigarette lighter to set fire to the insect repellent spray and he managed to scare the jaguar away.



After five days alone, Yossi was exhausted and starving. Suddenly, as he was walking, he saw a footprint on the trail – it was a hiking boot. It had to be Kevin’s footprint! He followed the trail until he discovered another footprint and then another. But suddenly he realized that the footprints weren’t Kevin’s footprints. They were his own. He had been walking around in a circle. At that moment, Yossi realized that he would never find Kevin. In fact, he felt sure that Kevin must be dead. He felt totally depressed and on the point of giving up


6 7 8

But Kevin wasn’t dead. He was still looking for Yossi. But after nearly a week, he was also weak and exhausted from lack of food and lack of sleep. He decided that it was time to forget Yossi and try to save himself. He had just enough strength left to hold onto a log and let himself float down the river.

Kevin was incredibly lucky – he was rescued by two Bolivian hunters who were traveling downriver in a canoe. The men only hunted in that part of the rainforest once a year, so if they had passed by a short time earlier or later, they wouldn’t have seen Kevin. They took him back to the town of San José, where he spent two days recovering.


9 10 11

As soon as Kevin felt well enough, he went to a Bolivian army base and asked them to look for Yossi. (“My friend is lost in the jungle. You must look for him.”) The army officer he spoke to was sure that Yossi must be dead, but in the end, Kevin persuaded them to take him up in a plane and fly over the part of the rainforest where Yossi might be. But the plane had to fly too high over the rainforest, and the forest was too dense. They couldn’t see anything at all. It was a hopeless search. Kevin felt terribly guilty. He was convinced that it was all his fault that Yossi was going to die in the jungle. Kevin’s last hope was to pay a local man with a boat to take him up the river to look for his friend.


12 13

By now, Yossi had been on his own in the jungle for nearly three weeks. He hadn’t eaten for days. He was starving, exhausted, and slowly losing his mind. It was evening. He lay down by the side of the river, ready for another night alone in the jungle.

Suddenly, he heard the sound of a bee buzzing in his ear. He thought a bee had gotten inside his mosquito net. But when he opened his eyes, he saw that the buzzing noise wasn’t a bee…

It was a boat. Yossi was too weak to shout, but Kevin had already seen him. It was a one-in-a-million chance that Kevin would find his friend, but he did. Yossi was saved.

When Yossi had recovered, he and Kevin flew to the city of La Paz and they went directly to the hotel where they had agreed to meet Marcus and Karl.

But Marcus and Karl were not at the hotel. The two men had never arrived back in the town of Apolo. The Bolivian army organized a search of the rainforest, but Marcus and Karl were never seen again.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This