One day a huge storm comes and the waves turn into mountains. Pi is forced to leave the raft for the lifeboat, and he unrolls the tarpaulin and gets under it, lying flat on the bench farthest from Richard Parker. He gradually closes the tarpaulin over both himself and the tiger, as the life boat rides the huge waves with steep inclines and declines. Waves crash onto the tarpaulin and pummel Pi’s body. The storm lasts for a day and a night.
The storm breaks down the boundaries between Pi and Richard Parker when they are both forced to take refuge under the tarpaulin—the mighty power of uncaring nature forces the living beings together. Once again Pi chooses to avoid a more immediate danger over the lingering threat of the tiger.
At dawn the storm has subsided and Pi emerges. He notices that the raft has disappeared, leaving only two oars and a life jacket, and he is devastated by this. None of Pi’s water bags split, and Richard Parker is disgruntled but alive. Pi mends the torn tarpaulin, and then bails the water out of the boat and finds his precious orange training whistle.
Despite Pi’s best efforts and his survival equipment, he is still totally at the mercy of nature. The storm is without reason or mercy, and for Pi it is a great setback. The loss of the raft means that Pi must truly enforce his territory on the lifeboat.