I love the sea. I love everything about it. Even at its most terrifying, I still love it. For these reasons, I also really enjoyed listening to National Geographic photojournalist, Brian Skerry, talking about his attempts to share the ocean with the rest of the world. Try to peel your eyes away from his beautiful photography to practice some listening skills that will help boost your IELTS score.


Firstly, look at this PPT that features some blocking vocabulary from the listening passage. Try to label the pictures in the final page.



Watch the first one minute of the video and try to fill in the blanks. Some of the words come from the vocabulary above. Pay attention to the spelling. (Answers below)

I would like to share with you this morning ___1___ about the ocean through my work as a still photographer for National Geographic magazine. I guess I became an underwater photographer and a ____2_____ because I fell in love with the sea as a child. And I wanted to tell stories about all the amazing things I was seeing ____3____, incredible wildlife and interesting behaviors. And after even 30 years of doing this, after 30 years of exploring the ocean, I ____4_____ amazed at the extraordinary encounters that I have while I’m at sea. But more and more frequently these days I’m seeing terrible things underwater as well, things that I don’t think most people realize. And I’ve been ____5_____ to turn my camera towards these issues to tell a more complete story. I want people to see what’s happening underwater, both the horror and the magic.


Meaning from Context

Watch the end of the video again. Pay attention to this quotation at the very end:

So I think the message is clear. The ocean is, indeed, resilient and tolerant to a point, but we must be good custodians. I became an underwater photographer because I fell in love with the sea, and I make pictures of it today because I want to protect it, and I don’t think it’s too late.

What do you think “custodians” means? (Answer below)



According to the speaker, 100 million sharks are killed by humans each year. Soon they may face extinction. Consider why it is important to save the sharks, and how difficult it may be to convince people that they are worth saving. (Remember: many people are scared of these animals and have no sympathy for them.)

Write a short letter to a powerful person who to convince them to help save the world’s shark population.



  1. How do you feel about the ocean?
  2. What do you think is the relationship between humans and the ocean?
  3. What problems do humans cause for the ocean?
  4. Why is it important to protect the ocean?
  5. How can the following groups help save the ocean?
    1. Governments
    2. Normal people
    3. Companies/organizations
    4. Celebrities




  1. some stories
  2. photojournalist
  3. underwater
  4. never cease to be
  5. compelled

Meaning from Context




a person who has responsibility for taking care of or protecting something