Kaikōura whale watching back in business

Boats are again docked on the water with tourists piling on board to see the famous Kaikoura whales. 

Whale Watch Kaikoura is one of the town's largest tourist operators that was hit hard by the November earthquake.

"There is a sense of returning back to some kind of normality - normal? It's a little bit different these days. It's a new kind of normal," Lisa Bond, Whale Watch Kaikoura Marketing Manager said. 

The force of the shake was so strong it uplifted the seafloor by more than a metre, making it impossible to moor the tourist boats in the shallow harbour waters.

"What we needed to do was lower the sea bed by that metre so boats could come and go," Justin Hall, North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery Delivery Manager said.

Despite the reopening of the harbour it's still trying times. On-going construction work has set Dolphin Encounter back and it's currently operating at just 10 percent of what it normally would. 

"What's happening at the moment is restricted operating based on the pier and the extension of the launching ramp, which we all need to reverse our boats and trailers back on to and retrieve from," Lynette Burrman, Dolphin Encounter Business Manager said.

The enormous task of lowering the seafloor means 22,000 cubic metres of material has been removed, and almost two and a half thousand truck loads have been taken out in the past ten months. 

In a relief for boaties and tourism operators dredging work is due to be completed next month in time for the earthquake anniversary 

Now that the end is in sight there's hope business will be back to normal for the busy summer season.