Santiago is asleep when Manolin comes to his shack in the morning. Though relieved to see that Santiago is breathing, Manolin cries when he sees Santiago's cut hands. He goes outside to get Santiago some coffee.
Manolin's weeping, like the weeping of the women at Christ's crucifixion, suggests that Manolin recognizes the scope of the struggles Santiago endured.
Near the water, many fisherman have gathered to look at the marlin's skeleton attached to Santiago's skiff. They estimate its length at 18 feet. When they see Manolin, they ask him how Santiago is doing, feeling guilty for all the times they laughed at Santiago.
The marlin's skeleton is proof of Santiago's triumph and defiance of defeat. In death, the marlin gives Santiago a new life in which he is respected by his fellow fisherman.
When Santiago wakes up, Manolin is at his side with the coffee. Santiago tells Manolin to give the head of the marlin to Pedrico to use in the fish traps, and offers the spear to Manolin.
When he couldn't catch a fish, Santiago was forced to live off the kindness of others. Now he repays his debts.
Manolin tells Santiago that the coast guard and search planes looked for him for days. Manolin then says that he will return to fish with Santiago, no matter what his family says. Manolin asks Santiago how much he suffered while he was at sea, and Santiago responds, "Plenty." Manolin then goes out to bring Santiago food and the daily papers.
A group of tourists notices the giant skeleton of the marlin in the water. They ask a waiter at the Terrace what it is. Attempting to explain what happened, the waiter says "Tiburon" (shark). The tourists think that he meant that the skeleton is that of a shark.
When Manolin returns to Santiago's shack, Santiago is sleeping, Manolin watches over Santiago as Santiago dreams of playing lions.
Santiago's earlier dreams were of the lions walking. That they are now playing suggests that he has been rejuvenated.