After sleeping for only a couple hours due to an intense itinerary, we started our way to the top at 2 am and two hours and a hike later, we were inside the crater of Ijen (of course wearing gas masks) experiencing the iconic blue flames, which result from heavy sulphur deposits in the volcano. It turquoise crater lake is known the largest acid lake on Earth, caustic enough to dissolve metal.
But what really drew our attention were the people who work inside the volcano. The miners break the cooled material into large pieces and carry it away in baskets. They carry loads ranging from 75 to 90 kilograms, up 300 metres to the crater rim and then 3 kilometres down the mountain for weighing. Most miners make this journey twice for as little as $12 USD a day.
Short-term exposure to highly concentrated levels of sulphur dioxide can be deadly, and chronic exposure can lead to breathing difficulties or even premature dead. It stings the eyes, burns the lungs and corrodes the skin. No wonder why is known as 'Devil's gold'.
After this unique experience, we went down and headed to the town of Banyuwangi, to spend another birthday far from home :)
East Java, Indonesia.
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