More than 23 years after a huge volcanic eruption left this island nation all but abandoned, Montserrat is ever-so-gradually finding its feet as one of the Caribbean’s most appealing destinations.

It was Scriber who first mentioned the Goat Water.

The ornithologist and I were walking up through a forest of banyan, fiddlewood and Spanish oak in Montserrat’s Centre Hills, in search of the golden oriole—happily, easily spotted. Conversation then turned, inevitably, to the elephant in the room: The impact on his island after the massive eruption of the Soufrière Hills volcano, some 23 years previously.

This verdant 40-square-mile British Overseas Territory, which lies 34 miles southwest of Antigua in the Caribbean, had been sauntering comfortably along, enjoying something of a mini tourism boom—until that eruption.