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Remarkable Stories

Remarkable Stories

By Remarkable Stories
John Herlig and Mike McDowall bring you stories so good, you'll have to share them.
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This week, the dynamic duo talk about in-mast furling, stick shift versus auto cars and impressionist paintings. Because why not.
September 20, 2022
This is the strange tale of a British family who decided to establish their own nation. On Christmas Eve 1966, Paddy Bates and his son, Michael, took possession of an abandoned anti-aircraft gun emplacement seven and a half miles off the coast of southeast England. The following year, they declared independence. Fifty-two years later they are still independent despite the occasional hiccup such as an armed invasion by German merceneries. Mike McDowall spoke to Michael Bates, now Prince Michael of Sealand.
September 13, 2022
John met Johannes Volbehr in Jamaica a few years ago. At the time, the happy-go-lucky world traveller was making his way from Germany to South America by working his passage aboard private sailing vessels. Shortly after their encounter, Johannes and an acquaintance called Ine were taken on as crew by the skipper of Our Joy, a sailboat bound for Panama. The journey did not go as planned. Johannes tells his tale to Remarkable Stories' John Herlig. Our efforts to locate Rockney Ragsdale have been unsuccessful.
September 06, 2022
Arlene Limas didn't know who she was going to fight, and she never expected that her toughest opponent would be the governing body of her own sport, Taekwondo. And why did they fight Arlene?  Because she was simply too good. Still, there was drama surrounding women's Taekwondo in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Does anybody really know what really happened at the medal ceremony?
August 30, 2022
In Part One of "WILL THIS KILL ME," Garry Eveleigh joined Remarkable Stories' Mike McDowall as the pair traipsed about the island of Mallorca in search of edible wild food. They found plenty of delicious things to eat—but no mushrooms. And since we all know that mushrooms are pretty much fabulous, they decided to go find some up in the hills. They are joined in this episode by Mike’s friend Corinna Perry. If you are interested in learning how to find food out in nature, Garry's book is called Wildcook and includes recipes from British celebrity chef James Golding. And yes, all three of our adventurers are reportedly still alive and kicking, even now.
August 23, 2022
Garry Eveleigh finds food everywhere—in the front yard, in the hillsides, at the side of the road. He knows which plants are delicious and which may kill you. You see, Garry is a professional forager. He has been employed by some very high-end British restaurants to devise fresh, sustainable menus, and last year, on a sunny autumn day, Garry took Remarkable Stories' Mike McDowall on a food finding mission that began, conveniently enough, in Mike's own front yard. We are happy to report that Garry and Mike are both still quite alive.
August 16, 2022
In a very different edition of Remarkable Stories, John gets together with his friend Dano to tear into some YouTube sailing channels and to recommend alternatives to the usual top five. There's not enough room to list the channels we offend, but a few that we liked included Sailing with the Litzenbergers, Acorn to Arabella, Wind Hippie Sailing, and Christian Williams. Check 'em out. Let us know what you think of Remarkably Unhinged, and drop us a line if there is a sailing-related subject you'd like John and Dano to tackle.
August 09, 2022
Oscar Siches has more than earned his citizenship of the oceans. After a short but illustrious career racing sailboats and many years as the skipper of charter yachts, he settled in Palma de Mallorca, where he designed, built and managed the kind of luxury marinas that attract the most prestigious of vessels. These days he is in demand as the creator of exclusive waterside developments under the Yacht Club de Monaco brand name. But Oscar's certainly no snob or social climber. He enjoys the simple pleasures: a boat, a beer and a good conversation. Mike McDowall joined him for breakfast at his home.
August 02, 2022
Everything Spencer and Brenda Litzenberger touch ends up playing out like a madcap slapstick comedy. They are Bonnie & Clyde meets It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World minus the machine guns and bank robberies. From boats to yurts, Alaska to vomit bags, changing lightbulbs in cruise ships to buying a sail loft, their story will have you laughing till your sides hurt and wondering what in the world might come next.
July 26, 2022
1m1's life story is at once tragic and uplifting. His childhood was fragmented by repeated abductions at the hands of his warring parents. But it was also filled with a rich variety of culture and language as he was moved from country to country. He spent his youth in Pakistan, India, Russia, Germany and South Korea. He mixed with the destitute and the wealthy, idiots and intellectuals, high-ranking diplomats and daring smugglers. He has a unique and infectiously optimistic outlook.
July 19, 2022
While attending the prestigious Manhattan School of Music, Obed Calvaire met Wynton Marsalis, one of the biggest names in jazz. That connection led to an offer for Obed to drum for the trumpet-playing legend. Obed speaks with Remarkable Stories' John Herlig about his sense of destiny—about the fact that he was, in his own words, "put on this earth to play music." He discusses memorizing complex arrangements, how drumming is like an eagle in flight, and about how the give-&-take between musicians on stage is not dissimilar to sex. He also tells you what he does in his car at red lights, who his favorite rock drummer is, and what he thinks of the movie "Whiplash." If that's not enough, he could just be one of the happiest and most-likeable people you may ever encounter. We hope you enjoy listening to Obed as much as we enjoyed talking to him.
July 12, 2022
A short message from John & Mike.
We are taking this week off for the American July 4th holiday, but we've sent you a message. ♡  
July 05, 2022
"Posh Pete" — born Pieter Tritton — smuggled millions of dollars of cocaine out of South America, managing to stay one step ahead of law enforcement for years. But eventually his luck ran out, and he was apprehended in a hotel room in Ecuador with 8 kilos of cocaine in his possession. The result was a  12 year sentence in one of the world's deadliest prison systems. Pieter started young and learned the nuance of the smuggling world quickly. He watched, and he learned how things worked — both before and after he was caught by police. He joined Remarkable Stories' Mike McDowall to talk about his life, from getting his start in the rave scene of his youth to how he later managed to survive a notoriously-lethal prison system.  While he may have come out of prison alive, he didn't come out without scars from the horrors that he witnessed.
June 28, 2022
Janine Georgette wanted to learn to sail. She was, in her words, "sea bit." But she lives in New York City—one of the most expensive cities in the US and certainly not an easy place for a divorced woman in her 60s to find a boat on a shoestring budget. But Janine is about as determined a woman as you might find. As an 11 year old, Janine wanted to learn to ski. She was frustrated by how easy and natural it was for the kids who had been skiing their whole lives, and she struggled to improve. So she joined the ski team at school, and it worked—she dove in the deep end, if you will. And later in life she tried the same approach to learn how to sail—immersion. Janine tells her story with all of its ups and downs, successes and failures. You can't help but to be inspired.
June 21, 2022
Mansoor Adayfi was held at Guantanamo Bay for fourteen years. He was never charged with a crime. Mark Fallon was the NCIS agent in charge of criminal investigations at Guantanamo Bay. This is the second part of Mansoor's story.
June 14, 2022
At the age of eighteen, Mansoor Adayfi was kidnapped by Afghani warlords and sold to the CIA. Despite the fact that he was a teenager from Yemen, his abductors convinced American intelligence agents that he was a middle-aged Egyptian recruitment officer for Al Qaeda. Mansoor was held first at a secret CIA black site, was then moved to Kandahar Prison, and finally was transferred to Guantánamo Bay, where he was tortured and humiliated for fourteen years. This is the first of a two-part edition of Remarkable Stories.
June 07, 2022
Lou Landreth has been on this Earth for ninety-eight years and has spent much of that time sailing and fighting. She invited Mike McDowall over for tea, cookies, and an argument.
May 31, 2022
Don McIntyre has spent his entire life engaged in daring exploits. He has sailed the toughest seas, he has led expeditions to the most inhospitable places, he has been an endurance pilot, a rally driver, and an Antarctic explorer. He has won medals and accolades in numerous countries. He has written books and produced documentaries. He has built boats and aeroplanes. More recently, he revived the Golden Globe Race - a solo circumnavigation widely regarded as the toughest sailing event in the world. On October 31st 2021, at the age of 66, he's due to compete in the Globe 580 TransAt, a race across the Atlantic in self-built plywood yachts. Don McIntyre talked with Seabird's Mike McDowall about his extraordinary life.
October 04, 2021
Jon Martins was a qualified tandem sky-diving instructor, parachute packer, and cameraman by the age of 20. After performing thousands of jumps, Jon met tragedy on New Years Eve of 2012 as he experienced a hard landing that caused a spinal fracture, making him an L1 paraplegic. In his words, “I see it as a gift, a tremendous blessing in my life, but it is necessary to act quickly upon it. When you have these life changing enlightenments and you don’t act quickly, it will just fade away, go in the background and you forget about it” Jon turned his focus to sailing, becoming the first disabled sailor to circumnavigate New Zealand, to cross the Caribbean Sea, and to singlehand across the Pacific. But you won’t find him wallowing in the spirit of tragedy and despair. Deeply philosophical, self analytical, and curious about the world around him, Jon joins Seabird’s John Herlig from his New Zealand home to talk about his life, accomplishments, struggles and aspirations in a fascinating and moving episode.
September 27, 2021
S01 E10: IMI
This episode of Remarkable Stories has been removed at the request of the interviewee. In its place, you can hear an early trailer from back when we were called Seabird. However, I am excited to let you know that Imi will be back, on Wednesday, July 20th at 9am Central European Time. Do not miss it. Honestly, Imi's life story will make your jaw hit the floor. It is sensational.
September 20, 2021
The former owner and captain of a Charleston, South Carolina, charter company, Banff Luther has once again tossed the predictable aside to pursue life in an unconventional way. Trading the sea for the mountains, Banff recently acquired his contractor’s license and is planning to build a number of luxury rental cabins as well as a garage large enough to let him work on the Porsche 911 that he races on weekends. Grounded, humble, and thankful, Banff sits down with Seabird’s John Herlig and shares what it is that gets him out of bed in the morning. And he says he’d be content to go out with his boots on, doing what he loves.
September 13, 2021
In January of 2020, Seabird’s John Herlig crewed together with his friend Benjamin on the delivery of a 44’ Antares catamaran named Seahorse from Rio Dulce, Guatemala, to the island state of Grenada in the Windward Islands of the Caribbean. A year later the two were called upon again, to deliver the vessel from her marina in Grenada to her new home in South Florida in the USA. In this episode listeners can follow along as Benjamin and John fly to Grenada in the midst of a global pandemic, survive quarantine, and pilot this luxury catamaran back to the United States. Aboard Seahorse in 2020 they sailed over a 7.7 magnitude earthquake as they left Grand Cayman. This year’s trip involved piloting the vessel through the ashen skies of the erupting volcano Soufriere on the island of St. Vincent. From didgeridoos to ukuleles, midnight storms to quarantine kittens, John & Ben find amusement in all aspects of the sailing life. This episode offers listeners a rare first-hand look into life at sea. And don’t forget to check out Newsly, the fresh online audio news service. Go to: Seabird listeners can get their first month of Newsly Premium for free using the promo code SEA2021.
September 06, 2021
John Barry never knew his father, a fighter pilot who was killed in action in WWII. But John grew up determined to honor his father's memory by living life to the full and not wasting away in the confines of a dusty office. As a young man, he left his native North Carolina and drove to Annapolis on a lark, hoping to find employment in the sailing capital of America. He took on work as a broker, and through that ended up scoring a job on the schooner, Harvey Gamage. Some years later, he became the captain of this storied, romantic tall ship. In this episode, Captain Barry sits down with Seabird’s John Herlig on the shores of the Intracoastal Waterway in North Carolina, to share tales of years gone by, sailing the Caribbean Sea.
August 30, 2021
Back in the 80s, Ric Sagarminaga was one of those Greenpeace guys making headlines with their daring attempts to prevent illegal whaling or the dumping of toxic waste. Three decades later, Ric is still defending the marine environment only now he does it aboard his own vessel, the century-old Toftevaag, flagship of his scientific research organisation, Alnitak. Ric is a cool guy with a laid-back manner that hides a steely determination to protect the oceans. The work he does helps conservation efforts worldwide. Mike McDowall joined Ric aboard Toftevaag on the north coast of Mallorca.
August 23, 2021
Not many people enter the sailing and racing world along the path that Dave Shearlock took. Raised in East St. Louis, Missouri, during the 1940s, Dave’s mother placed him in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, where he was introduced to sailing on the Mississippi River. Through lake racing in suburban St. Louis, Dave honed his boat handling skills and eventually met his wife Carolyn, in the Illinois racing circuit. Carolyn is well-known as the author of The Boat Galley Cookbook and the creative force behind The Boat Galley brand and website. Dave speaks with Seabird’s John Herlig about bridging the gap between the blue collar world of his upbringing and the high-dollar world of sailboat racing.
August 16, 2021
Chris and Melody DiCroce have spent the past decade mostly living on boats and partly living on the road. They have sailed the Caribbean and travelled widely in Mexico and Guatemala, all the while maintaining their jobs and making a good living. We figured the first three episodes probably gave you a taste for an unconventional life so it was time to talk to a couple who have successfully escaped the nine-to-five. Melody provides services for small business owners while also giving advice about side hustles and how to keep that bank account topped up. Chris is a musician and writer. By day, he scripts television shows; by night, he writes terrific books, both fiction and non-fiction, all of which can be found at Chris and Melody are living the dream. You could too. Listen to find out how they did it.
August 09, 2021
Being a lighthouse keeper in the 20th-century might not be the same job that it was 150 years ago, but Meghan Agresto isn’t exactly starving for work in her role as custodian of the beacon at Currituck Beach in Corolla, North Carolina. Part historian, part events coordinator, part problem solver, Meghan manages not only the lighthouse but also a one-room charter school in this tiny town of just five hundred permanent residents. Chatting with Seabird’s John Herlig, Meghan talks about all of these things as well as exciting tales of the drama, death, and destruction that was part and parcel of lighthouse life in the late 1800s.
August 02, 2021
Aged nineteen, Ky Furneaux was told she would never lead an active life. A car crash had left her with a fractured spine and doctors speculated that her mobility would be limited for the rest of her life. Ky was determined to prove them wrong. And she did. In spades. After a year of physical therapy, she was active again. She finished college and became an outdoor team leader, taking groups climbing, rappelling, sailing, kayaking and hiking. She moved to Vancouver, where she studied martial arts, stunt driving and high falls, and she pursued a new career as a stunt performer. After a few television gigs, her big break came when she was hired to double for Sharon Stone in Catwoman. In 2012, Ky was voted Best Female Stunt Performer in the World for her work in the movie Thor. An expert in outdoor survival, Ky joins Seabird’s Mike McDowall to talk about life as a stunt performer and to explain why she lives in a tent atop her truck in Australia.
July 26, 2021
Randall is a pilot, a flight instructor, and a self-taught sailor. His life story comes from the heart with an intensity that just doesn’t stop. From the hard lessons of learning how to sail off the Stockholm archipelago to studying opera in Tokyo or touring the United States in a van, Randall’s life has become a tapestry of adversity and overcoming—always with a song in his heart. Some years ago Randall encountered Seabird’s John Herlig at a meeting of south-bound sailors in George Town, Bahamas, and a friendship was born. In this episode, Randall joins John Herlig to tell his story.
July 19, 2021
Seabird: Season 1 TRAILER
Season 1 begins July 19th 2021. Seabird is stories from remarkable people. We have spoken to some extraordinary individuals who embody the spirit of Seabird—an untamed energy that can not be caged, that does not know how to conform. Their stories are fascinating, compelling and sometimes breath-taking. Travel with us, as we speak with the rebellious souls who make the world a more exciting place. These folks have not followed the rules.
June 12, 2021