It was still dark when Pandi, the head guide woke us. We had egg and cheese grilled sandwiches, bananas, pineapple and coffee for breakfast.
We set out before 6am. It was going to be a long, hard day because we had started so late on the first day. I felt quite unwell, but kept going.
After more than three hours walking and climbing upwards, we reached the rim of the crater.
Not far before it was a camp site with an amazing view back to the ocean. From the rim, we took in the blue lake, which contains a volcanic cone, on a black island and is surrounded by rocky peaks.
After a very short break we began the descent to the lake. Pandi and the three porters led us down, because Helen and I are not physically equipped for the terrain - we no longer have the ability to jump and land safely that we had 20 years ago. At the beginning, there was a rope to lower ourselves down, and, in other parts, there were helpful railings. Helen slipped and fell heavily, bruising her thigh badly.
Two hours later, broken by a 10-minute rest, we arrived at a camp area at the lake. Just before we got there, Helen slipped again, and nearly fell a couple of metres onto some rocks at the edge of the lake. I hauled her up by her back pack. (It was one of the few occasions on the trek when I was walking closely behind her.) Several other trekkers, and a dog, were at the camp area. The toilets were un-useable and there was rubbish everywhere.
If we ignored the camp site, the view of the "new" cone (which last erupted in 1994), the lake and surrounding mountains was spectacular. We bathed in the cold lake, had lunch, and then rested. We set off, accompanied by the dog, and, after about an hour, caught up with a younger couple - the young woman had hurt her knee. The dog stayed with them.