The story begins with a young boy named Gon, who aspires to be a Hunter just like his father Ging. Ging had left his son in the care of Mito, Gon's aunt, and has not been seen since. In order to prove his ability to take the exam, Gon catches the local monster fish, "Lord of the Lake". Although Mito is reluctant to let Gon leave his home, she relents after seeing his determination to understand why his father left and what his interest of becoming a Hunter was. After bidding goodbye to Mito and the townspeople, Gon boards a ship with participants from other lands and sets sail for the exam venue. After Gon predicts a violent storm approaching, the captain manages to steer the ship through the storm. He is later revealed to be one of the Hunter examiners, and he singles out Gon, Kurapika (who wishes to become a Hunter in order to hunt down the Phantom Troupe, a band of criminals who massacred his clan), and Leorio (who claims to be a Hunter just for the money). Kurapika and Leorio have an argument, stepping out onto the deck to fight during the storm, but are interrupted when Gon goes to save a crew member who fell out of the ship. Gon, Kurapika and Leorio helped save the crew member, earning the captain's approval, so he sends the three to the port closest to the exam site.