Now we had to go down the 300 steps of the boardwalk. My hip and knee were soon complaining. When we got down them to the road, Peter suggested that he and Gaal and Zoe go ahead to look at the lava caves, and when I got to the turn-off I wait for them. That was fine with me. I hobbled down, a long way behind them, then sat down and ate my emergency rations and had another drink of water.
After 20 or 30 mins Peter came running out of the bush to get me started on the road down. He kept telling me to keep walking. I was walking as fast as my knee and hip would allow me. The girls soon caught up so I suggested he and Zoe go ahead to try to catch the 3.30 ferry while Gaal and I went at our speed. (Peter wanted to get to Devonport to make a phone call).
I found I was weaving a bit. Gaal kept suggesting I stop for a rest, but I said I would keep going as I might not be able to get up again if I sat down. After a while it was obvious we couldnt make the 3.30 ferry so I said I might stop for a rest. I turned to go to the side of the road and found myself flat on my back in the middle of the road. I struggled to take off my back pack, with Gaal helping, and when a man appeared I asked him if he could help her to get me to my feet. They took me to the slight bank at the side, where I sat down and had a big drink of water. I then lay back in the scrub to rest for a while.
Because the 'bank' on which I was sitting was only 3 or 4 inches high, I found I couldnt stand up, no matter which way I tried, but another man appeared and helped Gaal to get me on my feet.
We eventually made it to the wharf and had to wait over an hour for the next 5.30 ferry. As there was a cool breeze blowing I put on my parka to keep warm.
We boarded the ferry and as it set off an announcement was made that it was going straight to Auckland. We were asked how many wanted to go to Devonport. There were about a dozen of us. We were told that when we got to Auckland we would be first off the ferry and would have 3 mins. to get to Pier 1 for the ferry back to Devonport!
Luckily Gaal had made herself known to the man from the company who was leading us there, and she kept waving to him as I was so slow. In fact at one place there were 3 steps to go up and I didnt know if I could get up them! I managed it, and was the last one on the ferry, muttering about cruelty to dumb animals.
I was so glad to get back to Devonport and into Peter's vehicle for the drive home. I presume I was suffering from dehydration or heat exhaustion when I fell. It had certainly been a day to remember.