Seven weeks on from the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck the country in November, Whale Watch Kaikoura has finally been able to send out a tour boat.
It's the first tour for Kaikoura's largest tourism operator since the earthquake hit, and marketing manager Lisa Bond said everyone understood how "momentous" the occasion was.
"The passengers were just as excited as the crew I would think, knowing how momentous this occasion was," Bond said.
The full boat, carrying 47 passengers and the usual four crew members, headed out at 7.30 this morning.
Those onboard saw a sperm whale, some New Zealand fur seals, marine birds, and dolphins.
"All in all, it was a great tour," Bond said.
This is the peak time of year for Whale Watch Kaikoura's business, so seven weeks stuck on land "has been pretty tough".
"But we're back," Bond said.
While their services were reduced for the time being, "the main thing is we're back doing it.
"It's great to be back out there whale watching."
The first tour was meant to be yesterday, but bad weather meant they were unable to head out.