The Helen Gjessing award goes to Anna Francis

Virgin Islands community members have joined together to foster a new tradition, starting this year. This tradition will recognize and honor those who serve their community  tirelessly selflessly, and courageously.
 Cherly Rae, on behalf of the HG Community Service Award volunteers and event

HG Award Press Release






Honoring a friend of Mandahl Bay

Fred Watts loved to walk the beach of Mandahl Bay with his dogs at his side, enjoying the peace, solitude and beauty of this bay.  As his grand children came along, they too joined him as he shared one of his favorite places and made priceless memories.  For 35 years, Fred loved this bay and worked on saving it and preserving it.


On June 17, 2015, Fred Watts passed away calmly and peacefully, surrounded by family, love and music.  Fred is survived by his wife, Polly; son, Colin; daughter, Karen; four granddaughters, Austen, Sydney, and Spencer Watts, Abigail Farrington; numerous nieces and nephews; and his beloved dog Cassie.

A celebration of Fred’s life will be held on Saturday, Aug. 15, at Magens Bay Shed No. 2 from 2 to 5 p.m.

In honor of Fred, and as a lasting tribute, The Watts family requests friends make a donation to Save Mandahl Bay, a cause Fred strongly supported.  Please make checks payable to VICS (VI Conservation Society) noting Save Mandahl Bay in the memo line, 4126 Anna’s Retreat, St. Thomas, USVI 00802 – or by credit cards

Thank you to The Watts Family… we will always and fondly remember Fred.




Mandahl Bay Film Wins at International Competition


23-1/2 acres: No Development Needed wins “Black Coral Award for Best Documentary Under 20 Minutes” at the Third Annual Reef Renaissance Film Festival held Saturday at Coral World Ocean Park on St. Thomas.

St. Thomas, USVI–(June 8, 2015) Friends of Mandahl announces today that a documentary film highlighting Mandahl Bay has won top honors at the Third Annual Reef Renaissance Film Festival held on Saturday, June 6. Filmmakers from around the world were showcased at the event which focuses on conservation, sustainability, and the ocean resource.

23-1/2 acres: No Development Needed is filmed and produced by Karl Callwood, member of the Steering Committee of Friends of Mandahl, in cooperation with several local environmental organizations.

Callwood sees the award as continued validation for the preservation of Mandahl Bay.

The vast bio-diversity of Mandahl Bay is indeed unique enough to concern the world’s ocean scientists and environmentalists. Mandahl Bay is now internationally archived. It is my hope that because of this win, any future developer incursions at Mandahl Bay will automatically trigger the journalistic curiosity of the world’s best environmental filmmakers.


Mission Blue Partners with Friends of Mandahl




Mission Blue is proud to partner with Friends of Mandahl as they work tirelessly to protect Mandahl Bay from a proposed development project that could severely damage vital coastal habitat on the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Thomas.


Photo Credit: Richard Gillette


“We are all very excited about this news,” stated Friends of Mandahl Steering Committee member Karl Callwood. “This partnership signifies that scientists, environmentalists and 30 million everyday people from around the world are recognizing the critical significance of the Mandahl Bay ecosystem.”

Read more on Mission Blue’s website by clicking this link Fighting to Protect Mandahl Bay



Hyatt may be pulling out of Port of Mandahl

smb news

Mandahl Bay Holdings ‘in Discussions’ About Future of Project
St. Thomas Source article by James Gardner, February 24, 2015
Reports that Hyatt is looking to pull out as operator of the hotel proposed for the bigger Port of Mandahl project were neither confirmed nor denied Tuesday, but the developer’s attorney did say that discussions are ongoing about what happens next.

An attorney for developer Mandahl Bay Holdings told the Source on Tuesday he could not confirm reports. “That is an issue that is under discussion right now,” George H.P. Dudley said.

In November, former Gov. John deJongh Jr. and Mandahl Bay Holdings principals met at Government House on St. Thomas and signed agreements to facilitate the development, which would still have to be approved by the Senate and make it through the Coastal Zone Management Committee’s permit processes.

According to the agreement, Mandahl Bay Holdings – a subsidiary of New-York based Transcontinental Realty Investors – would invest $209 million during the first phase of the project, which includes the development of a Hyatt Regency Hotel, a 50-slip marina, private estates and marina townhouses, and 48,000 square feet of retail and commercial space.

The second part of the project includes the expansion of the Mahogany Run Golf Course, which developer Karl Blaha has said the company also closed on in November. The expansion would include the construction of a conference center, ballroom, junior ballroom and additional meeting rooms, among other things.

Previous attempts to develop Mandahl Bay have been opposed by the local community, which has expressed concerns about the protection of marine and plant life in the area. A large group also attended a recent information session at the proposed development site, which gave senators a chance to find out more about the plans.

Please leave it the way it is


Just please leave it the way it is and let us have our fun. Please.

By Kiana Quetel, age 9, St. Thomas – VI Daily News, February 13, 2015


Hi, my name is Kiana Quetel.

Mandahl Bay is my favorite bay in the world. I spend most of my time there because there is so much to do and look at.

I swim and snorkel with my Daddy. My Mommy, Daddy, little sister and I have gone fishing and watched the pelicans and other birds there. Every day after school, I go there with my little sister and my aunt. Most of my beach parties were there. I call Mandahl Bay “Salt Pond.” All of my friends love it. I started riding my bike there. Just please leave it the way it is and let us have our fun. Please.

My aunt told me that they want to build a huge hotel, but there are so many other places that people can build a hotel. Why do they have to build it at Salt Pond? I wish that I could make them understand how much I love Salt Pond. I wish that I could make this go away, but my aunt said that it is the job of our governor and senators, the people we voted for to help save Salt Pond. She tried to explain for a long time who these people were and what they do, but it was too hard for me too understand.

I told my aunt that I wanted to vote too, to help save Mandahl Bay and she said that I had to be at least 18. I am 9 years old and I am asking the people who are supposed to help to please do something now.

Thank you,
   Kiana Quetel