Pi’s hunger and thirst overcome his depression, and he climbs onto the lifeboat. Richard Parker is under the tarpaulin. The lifeboat is rolling in a different direction now, which seems to have made the tiger seasick again – Pi makes a note of this. Pi watches several cockroaches, the last living things on the boat except for himself and Richard Parker, suddenly throw themselves overboard and get eaten by fish.
Martel again shows how the sheer will to survive can overcome fear, depression, and even reason. This seems contradicted by the cockroaches, however, who act as Pi is tempted to – to just give in and die instead of going about the wearying work of survival.
Pi smells urine and realizes that Richard Parker has marked his territory by urinating below the tarpaulin. Pi is comforted by this, as the tiger seems to have claimed only the floor of the boat. Pi eats and then drinks from a puddle of rainwater. He urinates into a beaker and notices how clear and appetizing it looks, but he resists drinking it. He splashes the urine over the tarpaulin to mark his own territory.
The contradictions of the setting are heightened in this scene. Pi is surrounded by the boundless sky and sea but is trapped on a tiny, enclosed territory within this expanse, and now the lifeboat itself has become divided into separate territories for boy and tiger.
Pi examines the solar still in the locker. He discovers that they are devices (consisting of a cone and a bag) that turn salt water into fresh water through evaporation and condensation. He ties them to ropes and floats them behind the boat. Then he improves his raft, carving an oar into a makeshift mast, hanging a blanket from it as a canopy, and adding an extra life jacket to the floor.
Despite his penchant for contemplation and self-awareness, Pi must now spend most of his time working just to stay alive. Pi has little faith in the solar stills at first, but they will soon be life-saving. After marking the boundaries of his territory as an animal would, Pi now makes it more comfortable.
Pi eats more rations, feeling hopeful and admiring the beauty of the sky and sea. Richard Parker appears and makes the prusten sound again. Pi hears a splash and looks down into the water, and he marvels at the abundance of sealife below him. Pi thinks of all the fish and other creatures as a bustling city. Night falls and he goes to sleep on the raft.
Pi was despairing of life just hours ago, but Richard Parker’s peacefulness and Pi’s own busyness have drastically improved his mood. By travelling so slowly and unobtrusively across the ocean, Pi sees the full range of sealife on his journey.