In the chapter, Brent arrives in Beale Beach, Florida.
After settling in, he begins work at one of three picnic tables near a boarded-up ice cream shop. The beach area is empty, and Brent works alone. His goal is to fashion a whirligig that consists of a drummer, a trumpet player, a clarinetist, and a trombone player. Brent decides to honor Lea's memory by making her the clarinetist.
Eventually, Brent takes a lunch break. After lunch, he discovers that he is no longer alone on the beach. His spectators are seven or eight schoolchildren. When they notice Brent, they stop frolicking in the waves to admire his work. Eventually, they ask to be included in Brent's project. To humor them, Brent allows each of them to help him briefly. He shows them where and how to hammer in nails.
The next day, the children do not return. However, four return the day after. Brent swims with them and learns new things from the children. From one of the boys, he learns that the ridged orange shells on the beach are called lion's paws. He also learns that the diving birds are called terns. Grateful for everything he has learned from the third grader, Brent lets the boy help him drill holes in pieces of plywood for his whirligig project.
In this way, both Brent and the children are apprentices. They share knowledge and benefit greatly from their open camaraderie with each other. This is why the chapter is called "Apprentices."