By Leland Kim
HONOLULU HARBOR (KHNL) -- It's back to work for a majority of furloughed Hawaii Superferry employees. They've been away from the job since October 11.
But starting a few days ago, more than half began reporting back to duty.
The mood here is upbeat, employees are happy to get back to work.
They say they're looking ahead, to finally being able to provide the service they were hired for.
Hugs and tears five weeks ago after more than 80% of the Hawaii Superferry employees were furloughed.
This day, the smiles are back, as many of them have come back to work.
"It was an awesome feeling that we got our job back," said Calvin Kaawa, a furloughed Superferry employee. "Just happy, stoked to be back."
But it was a long month for Kaawa.
"It was hard, a lot of hardship," he said. "Not knowing if we're going back to work or not having work."
A difficult situation, even for employees who stayed on and had to pick up the slack.
"It was an empty ship," said Erin Nakaya, a Superferrry employee. "It was kind of like, you look around and it was hard to see the friends you had come to work everyday to see and you'd work everyday with, not be here."
But as more employees trickle in, the mood has picked up considerably.
"It's really good," said John Stahl, Superferry's first officer who navigates the Alakai. "We're very enthusiastic and I know we want to get back in the full swing of things."
They say having their Supeferry ohana back during Thanksgiving week makes it that much more meaningful.
"Just thanks for having my job back and also giving the opportunity to ride the boat, the ferry, to Maui, and from Maui to Honolulu," said Kaawa.
They look forward to doing the job they were hired to do.
"Welcome aboard," said Stahl. "It's going to be a great ride."