Island of the Blue Dolphins Questions and Answers
by Scott O'Dell

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Why did Karana tell Rontu, "We will call it the black cave and in all our days never go there again"?

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Karana first sees Black Cave when she goes off to explore the island. She has prepared herself to survive on the island for some time, and secured her food supply. This gives her the freedom to see just what is surrounding her on the island, and to help her to prepare against danger as well as be aware of any other resources she may need.

It is while she is rowing that Karana sees a hawk fly out of Black Cave on the south side of the island. Karana knows that the cave is near the place that the Ghalas-at stored their canoes. Curious, she goes to the cave to explore.

Karana and Rontu paddle into the cave. They find two rooms and a ledge. On the ledge are figures made from beads and feathers and shells. In the middle of these figures is a skeleton, which frightens Karana and Rontu and makes them realize that the cave can be a dangerous place. To add to the creepiness of the skeleton, it is playing a flute made out of bone.

The fear of the cave is realized when the tide comes in and they are trapped. They are forced to spend the night inside the cave and are able to paddle out when morning comes. Karana tells Rontu that they will never return to the cave again.

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