My name is Nolan Diehl and I am writing this letter to support the Friends of Mandahl Bay in an effort to preserve this Caribbean community that we are blessed to call home. I was born in the cold, grey, and bleak state of New Jersey where industry was such a prominent facet of everyday life that it superseded the natural world. Fortunately, my parents moved our family to the beautiful island of St. Thomas when I was four and my recollection of those early years is faint.
For the next 20 years our family grew together in Mandahl Bay, relishing all of the priceless wonders this unique setting had to offer. During childhood my brother and I became absorbed in the sanctuary that is Mandahl. Life was simple and almost too good to be true. Surrounded by natural beauty, we spent our time plunking through tide pools in search of sea cows, spying green sea turtles from the jetties, and gazing at Brown Pelicans circling for fish as they soared skyward on invisible updrafts.
As we grew older and bolder we began to snorkel the pristine waters of the bay, beholding irreplaceable natural marvels that most of the world has never experienced. We gained wisdom from our interactions with fisherman, young and old, and in time gained the ability to hand line ourselves. When the seas roiled into a frothy tumult with mountains of water crashing upon the shore we braved the elements and surfed till the sun went down. And, when finally we lay in our beds it was the sound of the ocean waves that lulled us into a peaceful slumber as we envisioned what tomorrow might bring us at Mandahl Bay.
Being a long time resident of the area, it holds a special place in my heart and I feel that a part of it is mine. It is not only mine, but it is yours, and your neighbors, and most importantly it can one day belong to your children. We not only have a right, but we have a duty and an obligation to protect what is valuable for Virgin Islanders. What does a marina at Mandahl have to offer for you and the children of the Virgin Islands? The outside developers stand to make their own profit via the destruction of one of St. Thomas’s last and most beautiful environments.
Mandahl Bay is a natural amphitheater for life in its purest form, something that is becoming increasingly rare as corporate America steamrolls ahead for greed. We are at a critical juncture for Mandahl and now is the time to take a stand and lead by example for the children of our islands. We needn’t look far to see what our home could become. Do you want your kids to grow up in the next Red Hook? A marina where the water is so polluted that it is almost completely devoid of marine life and not safe to swim in? Where the mangroves are beaten back and slashed to no longer provide estuaries for fish, but instead provide support for docks and other foundations? Where the nightlife threatens to erupt in violence on an almost daily basis?
These are the hard questions we must ask ourselves because the decision rests in our hands. We can fight for what we believe in or we can step back and allow yet another scenic and ecological wonder be destroyed for eternity before our very eyes. Join us to protect Mandahl Bay for the Virgin Islands, a local beach for the people, and let’s keep this emerald of the sea beautiful.
Nolan Diehl, St. Thomas