When Karana returns to her island, she finds that her loneliness has partially abated. She is just as alone as she was before she left the island, but she understands that factors besides a lack of human companionship can contribute to her sense of loneliness. Originally, Karana loses hope because winter comes and she knows the white men will not soon return; she is in the same predicament when she lands back on Ghalas-at, but she feels joy where before there was loneliness. The turning point for Karana is actually not when she arrives back at her island but when she is on her way back. It is when the dolphins come to swim with her boat that she first reports not feeling as lonely. "I was very lonely before [the dolphins] appeared," Karana notes, "but now I felt that I had friends with me and did not feel the same." When Karana returns to her island, she looks out onto it and feels "happy to be home." One of the familiar sights she lists as things on the island that "[fill her] with happiness" is the otter, the animals that she had earlier called friends. The otter, and the other familiar sights of the island of the blue dolphins, are friends to Karana, and in them she is able to find some of the companionship she had so missed when her people left for the land across the sea. Now that her loneliness has subsided, Karana begins the symbolic gesture of building a house on Ghalas-at.