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Magic Carpet Adventures
Greg, Donna Lou and Boat Cat Ziwhot's Search for Adventure Captain Gregory (KI6IIU) and Admiral Donna Lou (KI6IIS) Norell E-mail:
Stow a ways aboard Magic Carpet!
Amiral Donna Lou
06/08/2016, El Cid Marina, Mazatlan

Stow a ways aboard Magic Carpet!
Black Capped Gnatcatcher's! Much to the Captains and Little Z dismay, these uninvited guest hide in the main sail lazy jack. Little Z who is Hungry for tweedy bird, has only herself to blame for missing this super Kitty delicacy. Because of her abuse of top side privileges while in harbor, she grounded. The Captain was upset by the usual tenant mess left behind. The Admiral was delighted with these cute little birds choosing Magic Carpet for their new home & sad as they flew away looking for a better place. Yes we finely sailed out of Banderas Bay just as tropical depressions are starting to form south. The Captain has carefully studied all available weather information for a safe comfortable weather window to sail Magic Carpet north to her home berth in San Carlos, Sonora Mexico. This has been a strange difficult cruising season to state it mildly! The highs & lows have been well described in past Magic Carpet Adventures. This most recent "adventure" was maybe the scariest of all "so far". We were celebrating the completion of the Admiral physical therapy & complete recovery of range of motion of her arm. Waiting for a good weather window north, we attended the Village 9 day Feast Day fiesta. Fantastic food, street dancing, parades, crowing of local royalty, bands everywhere, fireworks, the blessing of dancing horses and the late night cock fights. Thousands had converged on the little fishing village of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. We had a ball enjoying the celebration to the max - until it hit us! We were both so sick we could barely take care of ourselves; Little Z was now in charge of Magic Carpet! We know we needed help but the thought of getting it was too much. Finely the Captain got better & the Admiral worse. He called Gustavo our local taxi driver and once again he rushed us to the hospital. The Doctor took one look at the Admiral & amended her for what turned out to be a 10 day hospital stay 9 on oxygen. Fighting a strain of pneumonia that was not covered by our preventive vaccines or even the" extra" vaccine we got November 2015 that covered 16 more strains of pneumonia. Finding the right antibiotics to clear the Admirals lungs from this so called super bug was difficult. Finely a harsh uncomfortable antibiotic was used to free the Admiral of the need of oxygen. The Captain was also treated for 10 days as an out patent living with the Admiral in the hospital. Little Z was so upset she started chewing on herself with worry. She would not stop kissing (licking) her crew mates when they returned to Magic Carpet. It took the Captain two weeks to find a good weather window north; it was perfect for our recovering crew. We are now waiting for our next good shot of southerly winds & smooth seas (4 days needed) to complete this sailing season. For now we are taking advantage of the R&R opportunities here at Marina El Cid Mazatlan, Sinaloa Mexico.
That's 19 days in Mexican Hospitals, for the 2016 "Dreams into Reality" cruising season.
Standard question: is this an adventure or ordeal?
Answer: still an adventure!

Magic Carpet's Ships Log
06/08/2016 | Jean and Mike
Donna Lou, enough is enough!!! It must have been a very scary time for you, but we have a feeling that you, the Captain and Z are going to have "smooth sailing" from hereon. We'll definitely keep you in our thoughts and prayers. Jim sailed with Jimmy Carlsen a few weeks ago and they won the Koniti Cup on a Capri 25 (after many, many years to trying on different boats). And the guys raced up the Delta on our boat last weekend -- wonderful wind and weather (not too hot). We miss you, love, Jean and Mike
06/13/2016 | SEAN STACK
Lucky Birds
06/14/2016 | lynn
Congratulations on combining your strengths, healing, and successfully sailing back to San Carlos. The force was with you both, that's for sure! Hugs and love from both Rick and me.
07/07/2016 | Alexander&Florence Montalvo
Such courage and determination.
Sixty Day Update on Admirals Condition
Admiral Donna Lou
04/22/2016, La Cruz de Haunacaxtle, Nayarit, Mexico

Picture of Greg, Donna and Physical Therapist, Sandeli

The self-imposed deadline arrived 60 days after the surgery the Admiral declared she would be ready to resume her responsibilities to this life style. Well 60 have come and gone and the Admiral is trying to keep her personal commitment, with the help of long Physical Therapist sessions with Sandeli 3X per week. The Admiral has progressed amazing but painfully well. Her range of motion surprises everyone her strength has not returned yet, but she is working on that also. Talking about progress we must include this! First she traveled to therapy by taxi $700.00 pesos round trip; than car pooled $300.00 pesos finely she could stand the rock & roll of a Mexican Bus $76 pesos round trip. The Captain & the Admiral are now continuing there adventure on public transportation. It's certainly an experience not to be missed. On just one bus ride (about one hour) to Puerto Vallarta, nice bus full of locals, and bus venders who ride free but do not get a seat. First: A man selling chips & a squirt of salsa out of a basket passes through getting off a few stops latter. Second : A blind man sings for us with his hand out, than gets off the bus after collecting a few pesos. Third: A very good musician played his guitar & sang for us, and then he too passed through the bus looking for rewards before he got off. Forth: A man passed a card in Spanish out to everyone (who would take one) only to return and collect his cards & pesos. Fifth: A rapp man boarded and did his thing; the Captain offered him pesos to stop. Everyone laughed and soon too he moved on to his next captured audience. Out the window we saw road entertainers, Jugglers, sword swallowers, gymnast & dancers. Then there was the man selling cold Gator Aid through the windows, we felt sorry for the buyer waiting for change when the bus drove off. All working their way to make ends meet, Mexico does not have a welfare program. The trip goes fast, we even found a Haagen Dazs Ice Cream vender along the way! So the adventure goes on the road for the time being.

Magic Carpet's Ships Log
04/22/2016 | Roger Mammon
Nice picture and great to see the Admiral with a smile on her face. Glad to hear that she is recovering from the surgery. The bus trip sounds entertaining. Stay safe.
04/22/2016 | Roger & Mary Kay
It's good to see you looking so well, Keep up the good work. All is quiet on the island. I'm getting ready for a trip back to Missouri and will meet up with my twin sister. Roger is keeping busy with his hit and miss engines. He has one now that is hooked up to an ice cream machine and we've made ice cream twice-one vanilla and one strawberry. Both we good. Take care.
04/22/2016 | Chuck & Linda
OMG what is going on ? We both send you guys big hugs from French Polynesia

Chuck & Linda
04/23/2016 | Lynn
Hello from France! Congratulations on your recovery and determination. I know from own experience, recovering from shoulder surgery can be a challenge. Love your description of the bus rides and entertainment. Brought back good memories.

Picture of our Dear friends Ric and Lynn on S/V LaVita Thank You Dinner

Each day the Admiral has more range of motion less pain & more boat responsibilities. The Captain is getting ready for a shakedown cruise to Yelapa, just across Banderas Bay. Testing the Admiral ability to sail again, hard to believe this is needed! Aging is not fun, falling is not fun, and physical therapy is not fun, Sailing is fun & the Admiral insists she can do it! The overnight trip to the isolated fishing village with the afternoon strong winds, much like San Francisco Bay. This will be the "test" before we can start looking for a weather window north.
Little Z is being a "pill" she liked being a therapy cat, and is now feeling rejected. Even though it's warm and little Z is thirsty, she will not drink unless her water bowl is held for her an only eats if she is hand feed. The Admiral spoiled her but now neither the Captain nor Admiral has the heart to ignore her meows. We know we should just let her starve until she eats & drinks on her Own. But she just too cutie to do that to, so now the cat has trained us!

Magic Carpet's Ships Log
Update on the Admirals Condition
Admiral Donna Lou
03/08/2016, Marina La Cruz, La Cruz de Haunacaxtle, Nayarit, Mexico

The good ship Magic Carpet.
She's versatile! Now an assisted living vessel snugly nestled in Marina La Cruz, where each afternoon the cool Pacific breeze's sweeps through her cabins offering a daily reminder of what waits the Admirals recovery. After a total reverse titanium shoulder replacement & an eight day Hospital stay the crew of Magic Carpet is again complete. Long ago our boat was set up for single handed sailing, all lines lead aft & there are handhelds & safety lines everywhere insuring the Admirals doesn't fall again. The dock master & crew built a step up to Magic Carpet insuring easy on & off. The Captain stepped right up and took over as director of this assisted living vessel covering all bases as needed. The nurses & care personal of San Javier Hospital instructed the Captain on her care to prevent infection and insure fast recovery. The physical therapist team showed him helpful exercises to help insure compete movement, the dietitian discussed proper nutrition to encourage fast healing. So after a little over a week we returned to our boat, yes I say we because the Captain was with the Admiral 24/7 during her Hospital stay a local custom. Gustavo our driver guaranties safe comfortable transpiration to Doctor Appointments & physical therapy sections. Sonja picks up laundry and returns it the next day clean and nicely folded when called. The Captain draws the line at hair care he's all for cutting it off. To avoid the Captain sheers. Nallely shampoos and washes away the stress gray that suddenly started to appear as needed. The Captain dose a great breakfast an easy lunch and he's a genius at dinner he calls out! Several favorite local restaurants prepare meals under the Captains watchful eye even offering suggestions as to what they could do especially for the Admiral.
When we first arrived back in La Cruz at what now seems like ages ago with a broken auto pilot, we were amazed at how comfortable & welcomed we felt. Locals greeted us and told what was happening in there little cobbled stoned village, cruising friends were everywhere. Banderas Bay racing season was in full swing, there are puddle jump seminars for the 2016 Pacific crossing, circles of knowledge discussions on Panama, Ecuador, El Salvador this is a busy Bay. Now once again returning after surgery we are touched by the warmth & caring this community shows. Locals ask the Captain if they could visit, if we need anything just ask. As the Admiral struggles on her daily walks the greetings always cheer us. Sometimes a local comes out and sits with the Admiral sharing a story or two and even brings out a cold bottle water that makes the walk a little easier. We can't help thinking how different it would be at "home". We were right in choosing to convalesce here surrounded by friends & fellow cruisers.

The Admiral has become a VHF radio junkie, never far from her I Com hand held. We have been greatly saddened and fascinated by the loss of Rage a 45 foot cold molded sloop here on the La Cruz entrance reef. The struggle between the owner/Captain, environmentalist, Port Captain, Insurance Rep's, Surveyors' is truly a sailors nightmare. The small silver lining in this giant black cloud tragic loss is the support & helping hands of fellow cruisers & Marina La Cruz. Magic Carpets Captain was asked to photograph this recovery/salvage ordeal; some of the photos will be posted in our gallery.

Magic Carpets "Honey do list" is shorting items the Captain has given low proity to but the Admiral rated much higher are now getting attention. Even little Z has Findlay learned it's not wise to bit the hand that feeds you! She two is now completely dependent on the Captain for her needs & wants. It currently looks like we will be at the docks for 60 days or more depending on the Admiral's therapy progress. The peace and tranquility of being at Sea & secluded anchorages that sooth our souls is on hold.

Magic Carpet's Ships Log
03/16/2016 | Roger Mammon
Good to the hear the Admiral is recuperating from her injury and surgery. Sounds like you picked the perfect place for her recovery. It sounds like the Captain can add another talent to his list of duties, patient care.
03/16/2016 | Mike and Jean
We're happy to hear Little Z and the Captain, along with what sounds like terrific helpers, are taking such good care of you. Our thoughts and prayers are with you for a speedy recovery! The Captain must have the patience of Job to deal with all of this. So, our thoughts and prayers are with him also!!! Take good care of yourself, and we hope you're back to wonderful adventures soon.
Hugs and Love from the family.
03/16/2016 | Mike & Diane Robinson
Glad to hear your recovery is going well. What a nice place to recover!! Keep living the dream!
03/16/2016 | Roger & Mary Kay
Roger & I are pleased to hear that you are recovering nicely. Sounds like you have wonderful care. We hope that you continue to get better every day.
03/16/2016 | Lynn
You are making great progress. Nothing holds you back for very long. You'll be back on the sea before you know it. Keep up the good work.
Butterfly Trip Bright Side
Admiral Donna Lou
02/02/2016, Cerro Pelion a Monarch Butterfly preserve

The Bright Side!
After ordering the replacement parts needed for Magic Carpets Raymarine Auto Pilot, and arranging delivery to us here in La Cruz . We decided to head inland to the state of Michoacan, Mexico to the little Village of Macheros. Where we would travel high into the Serra Madres Mountains 11,000 feet above Sea Level.
To the World Heritage preserve site of Cerro Pelion a Monarch Butterfly preserve. Where each winter 1 billion Monarchs arrive here after flying 3000 miles from Canada & the Atlantic North East of the U.S. They reportedly fly at a speed of 3 miles per hour, to their winter breeding grounds. This is the same area as. their ancestors have returned to each year. No one knows for how long or why they have returned to the same area as their ancestors, but in 1975 the first tagged Monarch Butterfly was recorded in both the North & South Mountains.

Magic Carpet's Ships Log
02/03/2016 | Mike & Diane Robinson
Wow! Beautiful!

We traveled to the Butterfly's with our English speaking guide and host Joel Moreno aboard horses from the town stable horse coop. Where they work on a rotating schedule so that each village horse owner gets an equal chance to make a living! The Admiral road off on a white horse named Grease the Captain road a sorrel and Joel road his father horse Colorado. Up & up we road on a narrow rough mountain trail. It was beautiful lined with pine trees fern and lots of green vegetation everywhere. A fantastic journey to the Monarch's. Early on we spotted Mystical flashes of orange & black fluttering in and out of the trees. It is said you can hear the hum of wings in flight, but our old ears are not in tune with such soft sounds. The Captain described it as Magical like being caught in the middle of Disneyland fairy tale movie, just watching the butterflies soaring in and out of the tree branches was nature at its best! They gather & hang in clumps to keep warm looking like a vineyard full of orange grapes. When the sun shines they fly and the forest is orange. It is said over 1 billion Monarch butterflies are in residence this season. In mid-march the females will fly north the males will dye in peace covering the Serra Madera Mountain in an orange blanket knowing they have completed their life cycle. It was an amazing experience
Our host Joel & Ellen's B&B was a perfect home base for our long dreamed adventure of chasing butterflies. The small quite Mexican Village of Macheros where everyone is related with 3 & 4 generations working the land fascinated us. Each year they are invaded by Butterfly Chasers from all over the world between January & March hoping to fell the magic, wonder and delight of these winged creatures. We hiked around the Village getting accustomed to the altitude always joined by local dogs that were as interest in us as we were in them. We were fascinated by the abundance of wild flowers & birds. Each evening we were visited by beautiful Vermilion Flycatchers the prettiest we had ever seen, Humming Birds were very busy sucking up all the nectar their little bodies demanded. Meals were served at Joel's Mother Dona Rosa's restaurant where her five daughters took turns preparing meals on a wood cook stove. Supplies were mostly home grown, the corn for the tortillas was grown & ground all in sight of the B&B they were formed, cooked & served as needed, the best we had ever tasted. Each of Joel's brother's (5) have avocado orchards so of course we had lots of avocados. Joel's Father has a trout farm/pond where they hand pick your fish after you order a Trout dinner in 1 of the 5 way's they offer to cook it for you. Now that is a fresh fish dinner! Water is piped from natural Mountain springs to each home in the village. The villagers laugh when telling us how the leaves sometimes clog the little feeder pipes & how they have to hike high into the Mountains to free the clogged pipes. Green houses were everywhere growing flowers that are sold in Mexico City. They have a very active reforesting nursery where they grow the natural to their area plants to keep the butterflies forest healthy. Joel's godfather tends this nursery and over see's the planting! No GMO seedlings here! We were fascinated by the sap gathering from the local pine trees by the local's. Once when we were out on the trails we spotted a man on a donkey with two five galleon buckets on the side of his donkey filled with pine sap. He told us he sold the sap in Guadalajara where they made plastic, varnish & used it as a filler product for joint medicine? It's organic - We wonder if this is possible? Everyone in the village was warm, friendly and very cheerful and helpful. It was like taking a step back in time to a simpler easier life. We are sure no one has high blood pressure in Macheros Mexico! We try to live by the rule that we treat others as we wish to be treated! Joel & his family & the villagers treated us great; they made us feel like family. The oldest person in the village is 107 and credits her long life to beans, greens & God!

Magic Carpet's Ships Log
02/03/2016 | bob and priscilla
how the admiral is ok??? sorry to hear that

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