Anticipate what the last sentence of Part One of Life of Pi, "The story has a happy ending" (p. 103) might mean.
It is always key, whenever analysing quotations, to think about the location of that quotation and what happens before and after the quotation you are analysing. In this case, you have identified that this quotation is the last quote before Part One of this novel ends. In particular, it is set in Chapter 36, that is another section of the novel where the fictional writer of Pi's story goes to his house and meets him again, but this time he meets his son and daughter. Given the fact that the next section of the book will begin to narrate the disaster that struck Pi on his trip on the boat, perhaps we can take this final sentence in Part One as an indicator that in spite of the grim events and terrible things that Pi endures in the next section, there is, actually, a happy ending to look forward to. Note how this happy ending is described by refering to his relationship with his daughter:
At each number he softly presses the tip of her nose with his index finger. She finds this terribly funny. She giggles and buries her face in the crook of his neck.
This section of the novel, therefore, and in particular the quote you mention, deliberately gives us a very clear picture of the kind of life that Pi enjoys in the future, after his traumatic experience has ended. Before we begin the section of the novel where Pi's experience of being a survivor is related to us, the author seems to want to offer us some hope as to how it all turns out.