A few hours earlier I'd been clambering over the poignant ruins of long-abandoned Yankee Town, where stone cottages and bits of steam machinery have been overtaken by sisal plants and silver thatch palms. Though no one has lived on West Caicos for almost 100 years, that will soon change: A small hotel and some villas are being built. Lake Catherine, along with adjoining wetlands, shrimp ponds, dwarf tropical forest and the island's marine park will remain protected. From my kayak, I watched the late-afternoon sun gild the lakeshore greenery. I liked the thought of people returning to live on West Caicos, but it pleased me more to know this timeless view would be here, too, the next time I return.