Now it came about in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, on the first of the month, the water was dried up from the earth. Then Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and behold, the surface of the ground was dried up. (Genesis 8:13)It was a new year, and a new day. A new era was just beginning: the era of the post-flood world.
For those on the ark, this new year's day must have come as a relief. After nearly eight months, Noah removed the covering of the ark. The stale stench which must have filled the ark was let loose, replaced with fresh (and likely cold) mountain air. For the first time in nearly eight months, Noah and his household were able to see the sky in its fullness.
The days of seeing nothing but the same old color of gopher wood were over. It was now a new day, and the bright vibrant colors of the sky burst into the ark. Through what must have been a cloudless sky, the sun blazed its rays into the ark, illuminating even the darkest corners.
That night, the stars which God created to give light on the earth (Genesis 1:17), must have sparkled over the ark, the beauty of the scene pointing to the beauty of the Creator. It would seem that such a scene would have been the perfect backdrop in front of which to leave the ark— and move to the next stage of history.
But appearances can often be deceiving. Although the ground was dry, it was not dry enough (for more info see The Final Months). If Noah had chosen to be disobedient, he probably could have left the ark and lived comfortably (perhaps at a higher altitude until everything was completely dry). Noah, however, as he had been so many times in the past, was obedient. He walked by faith. He trusted in the God who had brought his household through the flood.
For almost three more months after that new year's day, Noah waited in obedience on the ark. He waited until God Himself told him to leave the ark.
The Command Noah Waited So Long For - Genesis 8:14-17
Noah's Patience - Genesis 7:24
State of the World (2349 BC): The Flood (Part 1) - Genesis 7:11
Noah Sends Out An Unsymbolical Dove (Part 1) - Genesis 8:8-12
The Chronology Of The Flood: The Final Months - Genesis 8:13-19