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:

25 June 2016 | San Carlos, Sonora
08 June 2016 | El Cid Marina, Mazatlan
22 April 2016 | La Cruz de Haunacaxtle, Nayarit, Mexico
22 April 2016
08 March 2016 | Marina La Cruz, La Cruz de Haunacaxtle, Nayarit, Mexico
02 February 2016 | Cerro Pelion a Monarch Butterfly preserve
01 February 2016
01 February 2016
15 January 2016 | La Cruz de Haunacaxtle, Nayarit, Mexico
09 January 2016 | El Verde Camacho Marine Turtle Sanctuary
05 January 2016 | El Cid Marina, Mazatlan, Sin
12 December 2015 | San Carlos, Sonora
12 December 2015 | Alamos, Sonora, Mexico
26 November 2015 | San Carlos, Sonora
27 May 2015 | San Carlos, Sonora
24 May 2015 | Mazatlan, Fonatur, Active Marine

Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

25 December 2016
Donna Lou
Always the big question for us is, are we on an "adventure or ordeal"?
Following a cruising season that was, not what we expected - not included in the Dreams into Reality adventure plan. We had to give a lot of through to the big question where we having a fun adventure or where we suffering an ordeal? The crew of Magic Carpet agreed "Adventure" we agreed, we love the cruising life. The fantastic Sea of Cortez & the Pacific Mexican Rivera the people we meet both cruisers and locals, we treasure our inland adventures as well as our time at sea. We feel that we have found the best of both worlds. The Admirals medical adventure which over shadowed our cruising season proved to us what several of our cruising friends have always said. The personal super medical care available in Mexico is great. Our Doctors studied in both the U.S.A. & Mexico where they feel they can best do what they studied so hard to do "What is best for the patient" and not for an insurance company bottom line. We are excited to bid Adios to 2016 & Buenos Dias to 2017 - FELIZ NAVIDAD - Donna, Greg & Little Z -

Perfect Storm

25 June 2016 | San Carlos, Sonora
Donna Lou
Perfect Storm! Not Now!
A great weather window was more important than ever. Captain Gregory analyzed over & over all available information sources for the perfect calm Magic Carpet needed to get north of Cabo before June 10 the official date set by our Insurance Company for hurricane season protection on the Pacific. Looking for light winds and as little swell as possible at a good distance apart. Hour after hour day after day he searched at best it would take 6 days for Magic Carpet to make it to her home berth San Carlos Sonora, Mexico B17. Predicting weather that far out is always a challenge & defiantly a most likely. Mother Nature is hard to predict, and demands respect! But this passage needed to be easy, the Admiral was just 14 days out of the hospital. Struggling to fill her lungs and constantly challenged with range of motion and strength with her prodomenet side - starboard! With all Issues taxing her energy level, the 3 hours on watches & 3 hours off were at the top of the list of concerns for the days needed to sail M.C. north. A near perfect weather window was needed!
Captain Gregory plotted an easy sail north to Mazatlan a 37 hours run he found a small window with gentle winds & seas forming. We tock it! Pulled in the dock lines stowed the fenders, and waved Adios. It was a delight to be free of La Cruz. Turtle sightings & dolphins escorted us to the open sea it was amazing, we hadn't totally realized until now how much we missed the freedom, peace & tranquility of being alone at sea. Mazatlan, El Cid Marina greeted us with an open berth and helping hands. Rest was our #1 priory while the Captain continued his search for a second weather window. A four day window north with southerly wind would be fantastic. Just three days into our R&R at El Cid he found what look like our best chance for a good passage home. The Captain predicted the first day out would be a lumpy windy day sail north, but that each day would get better and better & that we would arrive at Marina San Carlos B 17 by 10:30 Sunday morning just before winds built to 25 - 30 knots from the north. The Captains weather was right, soon after we had our dock lines doing their job the wind piped up strong.
The Admiral for the first time in her life had wondered about her ability to stand watches & her ability to sail Magic Carpet home. All was good the Captains weather fantastic, the Admiral Strength & energy returned. The sea entertained us with all her wonders that we had missed locked in the harbor of La Cruz for too long! The natural beauty an wonder of Mt, Tetakawi (goat tit mt.)And the animal like stone rock guarding the entrance welcomed us home at 10:30 Sunday morning just like the Captained said. The shot out call Magic Carpet warmed our hearts as we rounded the corner to our dock & the helping hands that grabbed our dock lines as we eased M.C. into her berth. It was a great welcome home to our B dock family.

Stow a ways aboard Magic Carpet!

08 June 2016 | El Cid Marina, Mazatlan
Amiral Donna Lou
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!

Sixty Day Update on Admirals Condition

22 April 2016 | La Cruz de Haunacaxtle, Nayarit, Mexico
Admiral Donna Lou
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.

22 April 2016
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!

Update on the Admirals Condition

08 March 2016 | Marina La Cruz, La Cruz de Haunacaxtle, Nayarit, Mexico
Admiral Donna Lou
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.

Vessel Name: Magic Carpet
Vessel Make/Model: Lancer 36
Hailing Port: Richmond Yacht Club, Pt Richmond, SF Bay, CA, USA
Crew: Greg, Donna Lou and Boat Cat ZiWhot Norell
About: Greg a Retired E/M Design Engineer from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Vice President and CFO of DLM Marketing, Donna Lou is President and CEO of DLM Marketing, also Greg and Donna own and operate an Olive orchard Deja vu Orchards in Northern California.
Looking for Adventure, We have a Lancer 36 "Magic Carpet" berthed at Richmond Yacht Club in SF Bay we both love to sail, fish and dive, Greg spent the last five years getting the boat ready. Ready or not were cutting the dock lines this spring (2009) and going South to Pacific Coast of California [...]
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Magic Carpet's Photos - Cabo San lucas
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Lovers Beach were the Sea of Cortez and Pacific meet.
Cabo San Lucas Famous Arch
Cabo San Lucas Famous Arch
Looking at arch from Madano Beach
Donna Lou at Cabo San Lucas
"Greg, Donna and Boat Cat ZiWhot's BIG Adventure"