Cambridge B2 First

B2 First - Reading Gapped Text Exercise

The Open Boat

In the following text, six sentences or parts of sentences have been removed. Above the extract you will find the six removed sentences PLUS one sentence which doesn't fit. Choose from the sentences (A-G) the one which fits each gap (1-6). Remember, there is one extra sentence you do not need to use. Write the correct letter in the box.

Choose from the following sentences to fill the spaces in the text. There is one extra.

  1. They were like islands, bits of earth that did not move.
  2. He always spoke in a low voice and calmly.
  3. If it started blowing the other way, they would never reach land.
  4. And the memories of friends who were so far away from them.
  5. The captain's face was sad. He had lost his ship and many of his sailors.
  6. The anger of the sea was no more to them than it was to a group of chickens a thousand miles away on land.
  7. The four men in the boat could not see the sky.

The Open Boat

The small lifeboat bounced from wave to wave in the rough seas of the Atlantic. (1)  The waves rose too high.

The waves with their white tops pushed at the open boat with angry violence. Every man thought each wave would be his last. Surely, the boat would sink and he would drown. The men thought that most adults would need a bathtub larger than the boat they were sailing. The waves were huge, and each created a problem in guiding the direction of the boat.

For two days, since the ship sank, the four men had been struggling to reach land. But there was no land to be seen. All the men saw were violent waves which rose and came fiercely down on them. The men sat in the boat, wondering if there was any hope for them. The ship's cook sat in the bottom of the boat. He kept looking at the fifteen centimetres which separated him from the ocean.

The boat had only two wooden oars. They were so thin - it seemed as if they would break against the waves. The sailor, named Billie, directed the boat's movement with one of the oars. The newspaper reporter pulled the second oar. He wondered why he was there in the boat.

The fourth man was the captain of the ship that had sunk. He lay in the front of the small boat. His arm and leg were hurt when the ship sank. (2)  But he looked carefully ahead, and he told Billie when to turn the boat.

As each wall of water came in, it hid everything else that the men could see. The waves came in silence; only their white tops made threatening noises.

In the weak light, the faces of the men must have looked gray. Their eyes must have shone in strange ways as they looked out at the sea. The sun rose slowly into the sky. The men knew it was the middle of the day because the color of the sea changed from slate gray to emerald green, with gold lights. And the white foam on the waves looked like falling snow.

The cook said the men were lucky because the wind was blowing toward the shore. (3)  The reporter and the sailor agreed. But the captain laughed in a way that expressed humor and tragedy all in one. He asked: "Do you think we've got much of a chance now, boys?"

This made the others stop talking. To express any hope at this time they felt to be childish and stupid. But they also did not want to suggest there was no hope. So they were silent.

Seagulls flew near and far. Sometimes the birds sat down on the sea in groups, near brown seaweed that rolled on the waves. (4)  Often the seagulls came very close and stared at the men with black bead-like eyes. The men shouted angrily at them, telling them to be gone.

The sailor and the reporter kept rowing with the thin wooden oars. Sometimes they sat together, each using an oar. Sometimes one would pull on both oars while the other rested. Brown pieces of seaweed appeared from time to time. (5)  They showed the men in the boat that it was slowly making progress toward land.

Hours passed. Then, as the boat was carried to the top of a great wave, the captain looked across the water. He said that he saw the lighthouse at Mosquito Inlet. The cook also said he saw it.

"Think we'll make it, captain?" he asked.

"If this wind holds and the boat doesn't flood, we can't do much else," said the captain.

It would be difficult to describe the brotherhood of men that was here established on the sea. Each man felt it warmed him. They were a captain, a sailor, a cook and a reporter. And they were friends. The reporter knew even at the time that this friendship was the best experience of his life. All obeyed the captain. He was a good leader. (6) 

The lighthouse had been slowly growing larger. At last, from the top of each wave the men in the boat could see land. Slowly, the land seemed to rise from the sea. Soon, the men could see two lines, one black and one white. They knew that the black line was formed by trees, and the white line was the sand.

source: voanews

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