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BBC 6 minute English-Underwater living

BBC 6 minute English-Underwater living

BBC 6 minute English-Underwater living


Transcript of the podcast

NB: This is not a word-for-word transcript

Rob: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English. I’m Rob and with me is Finn

Finn: …

Rob: Finn? Are you ok

Finn: (breathes out) Ahhh… ۴۹ seconds… I was just… holding my breath

Rob: A new hobby of yours, Finn

Finn: Well today… we’re talking about people living underwater – so I thought I could do with some practice

Rob: Ok – well you get your breath back. Today, we’ll be hearing about scientists who broke the world record for time spent underwater – they spent an incredible 31 days under the waves! And we’ll be learning some related vocabulary too. Ready now, Finn

Finn: Yes – I think so. And are you ready for this week’s question

Rob: Hit me with it

Finn: This week’s question is… what is the longest time a human being has held their breath underwater for? Is it

a) 12 minutes

b) 18 minutes

c) 22 minutes

Rob: I’m going to go for b) 18 minutes

Finn: I’ll tell you if you’re right or wrong at the end of the programme, but… don’t hold your breath

Rob: Haha. Don’t hold your breath – a phrase which means ‘don’t expect that a particular good thing will happen’. Anyway – what about these scientists – did they hold their breath for 31 days

Finn: Haha – no – but they did live underwater in a laboratory. That’s a room or building with scientific equipment for doing tests

Rob: One of the men was Fabien Cousteau, who’s an oceanographer – someone who studies the oceans. He’s the grandson of Jacques Cousteau – a Frenchman who held the previous record of 30 days underwater

Finn: Fabien said he wanted to break his grandfather’s record to raise awareness of ocean conservation – protecting and looking after the ocean

Rob: Well he’s raised our awareness at least. Now I’m interested in how they lived underwater. Listen to Fabien talking about the laboratory called Aquarius. Which word does he use to say that the lab is completely underwater

Fabien Cousteau: Oceanographer

Aquarius is very unique in that it’s the only undersea marine laboratory – it gives us a unique platform from which to live and explore this final frontier on our planet

Finn: He called it an undersea laboratory. ‘Undersea’ is, as you might guess a word similar to underwater. It means under the sea

Rob: And he called this undersea world ‘the final frontier’. It’s an interesting phrase – it comes from the Star Trek television series, which called space the final frontier – the last place that humans have not yet travelled to, the last place to explore

Finn: And apparently this laboratory was 18 metres under the sea in Florida… and being there allowed them to spend less time diving and more time observing marine life

Rob: Marine life – that means ‘of the sea’, so marine life means sea life, plants and animals that live in the sea. They were particularly interested in investigating the effects of pollution on coral

Finn: Now, I know they did this to raise awareness of marine conservation. But what I’m really interested in is what life was like for them. What was it like to live underwater for so long

Rob: Surprisingly, perhaps, life there wasn’t too bad. They had air conditioning, hot water and internet access

Finn: Though I do know that Fabien struggled with one aspect. Listen to him to find out what

Fabien Cousteau: Oceanographer

Unfortunately for me, as a French person, the food will also be simulated – freezedried, astronaut type of food, canned foods – things like that, so it’s a horror show for me

Rob: Poor Fabien. He said the food was pretty awful. Maybe it was English food

Finn: Probably – as a Frenchman he wasn’t impressed by the freeze-dried food – that means food that is quickly frozen and dried – to preserve it

Rob: Yes, he thought it was astronaut style food – the sort of food you would eat as an astronaut – someone who travels into space

Finn: And coming back to dry land they had to spend 16 hours decompressing

Rob: That’s very important. Divers have to decompress – to return to their original body pressure – when they come out of the water

Finn: Sounds like a long time to wait for a good meal! So Rob – what do you think? Would you like to live underwater for a month

Rob: Absolutely not. I’d get very claustrophobic in those small spaces

Finn: Anyway – let’s see if you got this week’s question right. I asked you what you thought the world record for holding your breath for underwater was

Rob: I went for 18 minutes

Finn: Actually it was even longer than that: 22 minutes! There are reports that two different men have managed this feat – Stig Severinsen from Denmark and Tom Sietas from Germany – with Tom apparently holding his breath for 22 minutes 22 seconds. But they’re professionals, please don’t try this at home! Well, that brings us to the end of today’s 6 Minute English. We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s underwater programme. Please join us again soon. Bye

Rob: Bye

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