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Thursday, 22 March 2018 13:31

Episode 1 - Look for the Seaweed


Episode Description:

In 1492, while Columbus was sailing the ocean blue, he was getting some grief from his crew. Columbus and his men had badly misjudged the distance they were supposed to travel, so after a few weeks on the ship while food and water dwindled away, some of his men threatened to mutiny. Things were getting desperate, when Columbus saw some clumps of seaweed floating by. That encouraged him, because it showed that land was near, and that positive sign helped him buy time with his anxious crew. Likewise today, we may be looking to achieve a goal or make a change, but feel the target is distant or even impossible. In these cases, “look for the seaweed”—look for small signs that you are on the right track. Maybe you just need to endure and push a little bit more, to find your breakthrough and success.

Word for the Day: harbinger (noun) first sign, hint, indication of something.   Seeing a robin in February is a harbinger of spring.

Listen to Episode 1 below.

Listen Here


Check your listening ability.

1. ____________ is a large clump of seaweed that uses air bubbles to move around the ocean.


2. At 3:57, how does Mr. Dreyer use the word "antsy?"

A. nervous

B. hesitant

C. itchy

D. eager


3. Why did Columbus think he would land in Japan or East Asia only a few weeks after setting off from Spain?


4. ___________________ is the overthrow of a captain.


5. Why did the seaweed encourage the men on Columbus' ship?

A. They knew that seaweed is native to Japan.

B. They had not eaten anything at all in two weeks.

C. It was a sign that they were near land.

D. They had heard that seaweed in that part of the ocean was the entrance to the lost city of Atlantis.


6. T/F Columbus and his crew sailed 1.5 months before discovering land.


7. What lesson can we learn from the story of Columbus and his men and the seaweed?



Answer Key:

1. Sargasso

 2. A. nervous

 3. He first knew that world was round. In that time, they had a good conception of the latitudes but they underestimated the size of longitudes. He also did not know the continents of North and South America existed.

4. Mutiny

5. C. It was a sign that they were near land.

6. False. After 1.5 months, they saw the sargasso. They didn't land in the Bahamas until the next month.

7. Sargasso was a harbinger of land; they had finally reached land. If we look for the signs, or harbingers, that we are on the right path to reach our goals, we will be encouraged to complete our goals.



Do you want to improve your listening ability? Contact Scott today to see what class you can take to improve that skill!


Have a question or feedback? Maybe a topic you’d like to hear in a future episode? Please email Scott at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We’d love to hear from you! If you enjoy our podcasts, please subscribe, write a review, and share them on social media and by word of mouth! Those are GREAT ways to help more people find our podcasts. Please also visit us at; check out the blog posts at the bottom of the page for more information about life in the USA and the crazy English language.

Scott Dreyer

A licensed teacher in the US state of Virginia since 1987, Scott Dreyer has been helping Chinese speakers improve their English since 1989. Dreyer lived in Taiwan from 1989-1999 where he learned Mandarin, met his wife, started his family, and realized he loved working with Chinese students. He became an award-winning author and started teaching ESL online in 2008. Dreyer and his wife and their four adult children make their home in the beautiful Roanoke Valley in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.