Quoyle comes home from work one day to find that the aunt's dog, Warren, has died in their hotel room. The aunt pours herself some whiskey and reports that Dennis will be able to fix up their family house to a point of livability within two weeks. All of a sudden, Nutbeem shows up at the door, hoping to finish the story of his boat. They go downstairs to eat at the hotel dining room, and Nutbeem begins his monologue again. He had made a "modified Chinese junk," and set out to sail across the Atlantic. He plans to sail the rest of the way around the world. Nutbeem then finishes Diddy Shovel's story of Jack Buggit and his son Dennis. Dennis was given up for dead when The Polar Grinder was caught in a storm, but Jack went out and found him. Again, Jack demanded that his son never set foot in a boat again, but Dennis went back to sea immediately, and now the father and son do not speak.
While Nutbeem is telling his story, the aunt slips away and goes to put Warren's body in the sea. While she is doing so, she is reminded of Irene Warren, an old friend now dead.
The aunt has bought a new truck, and drives it out to the old family house on the point. Alone at the house, she takes her brother Guy's ashes, and dumps them in the outhouse hole.
Quoyle, Bunny, and Sunshine meet her there, and begin helping Dennis work on the house. One morning, Quoyle wakes early and walks down a path toward the shore. He sees pieces of knotted grass that Sunshine, and the narrator tells that there were also knots tied in the tips of the tree branches. He finds trash along the pathway, and decides that he will personally care for this small bit of land, make it a beautiful walk down to the sea. Before he heads back to the house, he finds a curious pin in the rocks. It was a whimsical insect made with human hair, and he throws it into the ocean in disgust.
Back at the house, Quoyle braves the climb onto the roof, to put down shingles. Bunny climbs up to help him, naively trying to join her father. Quoyle panics, and gets to Bunny just before she attempts to step from ladder to roof, taking her down to solid ground again.
Quoyle goes out to try his new boat. At first he feels rather confident, but he cannot figure out how to keep from being drenched by a stern wave. Nutbeem later explains to him all the things wrong with the boat that have caused this problem. Dennis suggests starting over completely with a new boat; at the very least, he says, Quoyle should only go out in good weather.