New Years in Cala Ratjada, Mallorca, Spain

Hiking the nature preserve.

I sat in the palm gardens before the Palma, Mallorca, Spain medieval cathedral 'La Seu' and looked at a Marco Polo guidebook map of the Ballearic island.  I noticed a bulbous peninsula on the other side of the island called Cala Ratjada; I found out the bus at the underground train station would take me there for 9 Euros.  Because it was low season, the coldest winter in 40 years, all the hotels in Cala Ratjada were closed so I turned to AirBnB for the first time and found out about Jens place.  I booked it and via email connected to him in Germany; he back to the island  in time for my check-in.

Cala Ratjada is a clean little village, splintered off from Germany, an enclave of culture.  I met Jens in the street, got situated in my room, and as a gourmet chef, Jens whipped up dinner.  I soon met his neighbors, Babbett and later Torsten or Tim who had just launched Tim's Tours, a hiking company on the peninsula.  

It was Rudy's 87th birthday that night so Jens stuck a candle in a cupcake and we all celebrated with him in his apartment upstairs;  jovial Germanic chatter began.

Rudy fires up the fish smoker.

Every week Rudy mullet fishes in the estuary of a river not far away and then smokes them in a cooker on Jens patio. 

Jens hangs up the fish like socks on a laundry line;  later we are fine dining on smoked mullet, natural fruits and nuts, and other delicacies found on the island.  It was New Years eve 2017 so I walked a few short blocks to the Mallorca market, to buy a whole free-range chicken for the coming party, Rudy provided the smoked fish, Tim the champagne, Babbett the chefs culinary artistry, and Jens just about everything else.

Jens dries fish in the sun before smoking.

As midnight rolled around fireworks popped off in downtown Cala Ratjada and we danced and partied at a Swiss Bar.  This is truly an international community.  Later in the week, Tim took us on a fantastic hiking tour of a nature preserve on the other side of the peninsula.  The water was clear and smooth and I was wishing I had my kayak. 

What a great way to open the new year;  I am using AirBnB more often because even though I am half German and Ich spreche kein deutsch, I made loads of new friends in Cala Ratjada. (Photo, left, NYE smoked fish fillets.)

Cala, by the way, means cove or small bay, in the Mallorca language, a separate language from Spanish.

The 1877 Desert Land Act

There is an outdoors controversy brewing in the upper Great Plains prairie pothole country. in the U.S.  The 1877 desert lands act reserved waters for the public.  Under the Territorial act, passed before statehoods the public owns all meander and non-meander water bodies. This public trust doctrine still applies today.  There has been no drought in this part of the country and since the 1980s many fields have turned into sloughs and ponds due to heavy rains; many of the lowlands were dry when surveyed in the 1870s.  The landowners who own the property around the new lakes are trying to keep hunters and anglers off their property through injunctions preventing access. But recreation is a big business in these small farming towns. Any lake or pond over  40 acres in diameter, or any permanent streams can not be deeded to anyone, but are owned by the public. If the sloughs and potholes were dry then they could be sold as deeded property. The three water policy classifications are: non-meandering, flooded private land, or water over private land. Some Game and Fish Departments want to compensate landowners to allow public access through tax abatements.

Beer cans left by anglers can not close these new public water bodies. Some Fish and Game Departments propose an angler and hunter access stamp. But for now, everyone is heading to court. But I say we always need more Wild Water

Wild Water Fly Fishing

I have fished many of the prairie potholes in my area, which contain mostly bass or perch. Bass, I think are the dumbest fish in the pond, I have caught them on everything from lures, worms, flies, corn, and even a bare hook.  On the other hand, the trout in the stream that flows through my town are the smartest fish around.  They are very particular in their cuisine choices.  You have to knock them on their heads to get their attention, which I have done with jigs like looked like minnows, lures that flash rainbow colors, whirl-a-gigs that twirled under their noses, and flies and worms.  But what the trout really want are grasshoppers.

I have caught crickets in the summer and froze them for winter, but the trout know when the cricket season starts, and ends, so thereforth they turn their snouts away from my grasshopper daiquiri.  Wild Water Fly Fishing sells foam grasshoppers that excite the browns, rainbows, brookies, and even locklaven trout. My trout stream population like flies that are black and white.  Wild Water sells the Baetis Comparadun, Size 16 in a quantity of three for $3.  The company also offers some awesome poppers such as the Black and Chartreuse Little Fatty by Pultz Poppers, size 10; $3.25 each.

If you are just starting out as a fly fisherman, or the kids are getting into it, Wild Water Fly Fishing has many fly rod and reel packages, such as the Complete 3/4 Fly Fishing Starter Package (7' Fly Rod), now at a discount.  I usually opt for a longer 9 foot rod so I can flick a fly over the tansies, willows and  bank brush. Another option for the prairie pothole lakes and ponds is their Complete 7 Weight Switch Rod Starter Package for Bass and Pike. Wild Water also has fly assortments in the box, and spinning rod and reel packages.  Check them out at


I am going to send Jens and Rudy this unique grill cleaner called Grillbots..

Grillbots are a handy device that allows users to clean their grill from their smartphone. Just sit back, relax and let this little robot do the scrubbing for you. Simplify your grilling and cleaning and enjoy more time with your friends and family.

The fully automated device makes quick and easy grill cleaning possible with just the push of a button. Grillbots features replaceable wire brushes that are dishwasher safe, a rechargeable battery, and a LCD alarm and timer, driven by a CPU chip to control its movement, speed, and direction.

Get back to the fun while your Grillbot does all the cleaning and scrubbing for you at your next backyard barbecue.  It takes Rudy eight hours to smoke a mess of mullet. Grillbots are a BBQ season game changer.

Moore’s Marinades and Sauces

Smoking mullet or other fish doesn't require marinades or sauces.  But BBQed meats do to make them juicy, tender, and flavorful.   Moore’s Marinades and Sauces does all those culinary tricks and more.

Over thirty years ago in Alabama, a family-owned steakhouse put their signature touch on their poultry and beef with their tangy sauces and marinades; the recipe quickly became a staple in their small town for its delightful, hickory taste.  Whether you crave a sweet, sticky taste or a hot, tangy flavor, Moore’s has a stellar lineup of products for you and your friends to grub on. Everyone in your neighborhood will be asking for the recipe after they get a taste of these amazing sauces. Marinate and savor ‘Moore’ flavor than ever before in your wings, burgers, and meats. Throw the best All-American backyard cookout with Moore’s amazingly delicious marinades and sauces.

The Napkins 

Provide a unique and sophisticated style to your outdoor celebration with The Napkins, a product line designed in Switzerland and produced in Italy. The complete collection has an assortment of single use place setting products at your disposal. The product line includes full-size dinner, appetizer, cocktail napkins, and even baby bibs.

New to the U.S., the company has introduced their Pure Bamboo Line, their first green collection. This eco-friendly line features beautiful napkins made of 100% natural bamboo fibers that are both sustainable and completely compostable. Kick-off your backyard party with the touch of these fun, classy napkins, while ensuring there’s no big mess after the long night of festivities. Which makes them great for any and all get-togethers.


Keep your drinks icy cold with CÄK’s Blue Reusable n’Ice Balls! Designed in a beautiful, sleek style and a glossy finish, CÄK is a well-insulated cup designed to keep your drinks hot or cold.

The stainless steel tumblers can be complemented with their blue ice balls that are great for wine, cocktails, soft drinks or water.  Designed to eliminate watery drinks, CÄK is perfect for any outdoor event and is the ultimate solution to keeping your drinks tasty, longer.

Simply freeze in the container provided, use, wash and refreeze.

Great for fishing or road trips. My over-the-road truck driving brother was thrilled when I gave him a CÄK.

Bump It Off

Whether you need to spruce up your home before having guests over or need some extra help cleaning after the day’s festivities, Bump It Off performs a variety of household tasks efficiently and effectively. From scrubbing dishes to cleaning patio furniture, there’s no mess Bump It Off can’t handle. The reusable, silicone sleeve comes equipped with gentle bristles on one side and smooth bumps on the other and fits perfectly in your hand. Just slip your fingers in the finger holes.  My friend Dave's Okinawan wife uses them to give me a refreshing and relaxing foot massage.

True Natural

The sun gets hot early in Mallorca, even in winter, so I was so glad to have along True Natural sunscreens when hiking with Tim's Tours.

Enjoy the warm sun kissed weather stress-free. True Natural allows you to relish in outdoor elements without causing harm to your skin. Add their line of sunscreens to your outdoor beauty regimen for skin that is fully protected through all the upcoming pool parties and sea dips in a Mallorcan Cala.

 The vegan and gluten-free antioxidant sunscreen is formulated for any skin type and is so light you won’t even feel like you’re wearing sunscreen. Without the use of any parabens, PEG, phthalates, petrochemicals, synthetic colors or fragrances, or other harmful synthetics, True Natural offers full ingredient disclosure to the international standards, as well as all ingredients are Certified Organic and Vegan wherever possible. Hawaii is going to ban sunscreens on its beaches and oceans because of the oily mess left behind, but True Natural has no after swim residue.

Halo against mosquitoes

I was surprised to find mosquitos out in squadron force in Cala Rajada; luckily they are not malarial. Even though the first mosquito vaccine has inoculated residents of Kenya, Ghana, and Malawi in Africa, the pesky flyers still create an annoying buzz.

It’s that time of year, once again, to declare war on mosquitoes. With Halo from Thermacell, an industry leader in insect repellent, consumers can easily and effectively make their backyard, campsite, sporting event, picnic, virtually anywhere a mosquito “death zone” without the sticky sprays, smelly candles, or harmful topical chemicals.

Halo features:

Creates a 15 x15 ft. Mosquito Protection Zone in minutes
Silent, virtually odor-free, no open flame
Available in white, gray, and brown
48-hour fuel system – use up to 4 butane cartridges at once
ZoneCheck feedback system that visually shows you unit status
MSRP $39.99

Available at most outdoor, sporting goods, home improvement, and mass merchant retailers.

— Feature by Kriss Hammond, Jetsetters Magazine editor; photos by the author and courtesy photos by the manufacturers.