There is a tiny international airport on a very small island just off the east coast of Tortola.
On its north end, this airport’s single airstrip slices through the tree-covered landscape, pushing across the sand and out into ocean as it becomes part of the shoreline itself, a boundary of concrete and moved earth forming one edge of a small, U-shaped bay.
Passengers arriving on this very small island can exit the airport terminal, flag a taxi, and take the short car ride over the bridge to the bustling capital city of these islands.
They can also, if they choose, walk past those waiting cabs and continue east for about a half-mile along the narrow road until they find the shallow beach that wraps around the southern perimeter of that small, U-shaped bay.
On that beach there are a half-dozen wooden docks that extend out into blue water, as if pointing the way to the awaiting, accidental fleet of idling ships, anchored, gently rocking in place, shielded from the stronger ocean currents by the small peninsula to the east and that runway from the tiny international airport to the west.
Those ships will, eventually, return to more open water. The bay unrolls into the greater Atlantic Ocean, dotted with drops of green land.
Out on that water, from particular angles, the local islands begin to stack on top of one another. The clear horizon, full of peaks and minor elevations that look as if they’re part of a larger, connected whole rather than a scattered archipelago.
Green hills behind green hills behind green hills, water between, but from this vantage, invisible.