I felt as if I had been gone a long time as I stood there looking down from the high rock. I was happy to be home. Everything I saw - the otter playing in the kelp, the rings of foam around the rocks guarding the harbor, the gulls flying, the tides moving past the sandspit - filled me with happiness.
This quotation comes from the beginning of chapter eleven. Karana has awakened from her long sleep on the shore, where she collapsed exhausted after her failed attempt to cross the sea in a canoe. This point in the novel marks a turning point for Karana; before she had been able to stay on the island only because she believed that the white men would come any day to retrieve her. When she realized they would not, she despaired and tried to leave the island on her own. Looking out on the familiar sights of Ghalas-at, Karana sees it as her home and no longer feels so lonely (even though she is alone). Her feelings are the complete opposite of those she expressed only three days before; it is the same island, but her experience alone on the ocean has lead her to see it in a new light.