Ocean Hunter III - History
Following 14 years of successfully operating Ocean Hunters I and II in the waters of Palau, owners Navot and Tova Bornovski had an urge to expand. Since then they have been looking for a suitable vessel to add to the fleet, one suitable not only for the waters around Palau, but also capable of longer distance trips around the unspoilt islands that scatter the Western Pacific Ocean.
Following the success of transforming the Harry Messel into Ocean Hunter II in 2003, the Bornovski's returned to the same source to find the latest addition to the fleet. Once again our latest ship was originally built and operated as a research vessel by the Australian Institute of Maritime Science (AIMS).
The RV Lady Basten was launched in 1978, intended primarily for operation in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef. Since then she went gone on to become the workhorse of the AIMS fleet, travelling all over from Ningaloo to Fraser Island, Timor to Papua New Guinea. During her life with AIMS she travelled over a million kilometres during over 7,500 days at sea.
In September 2007 the Lady Basten gained her new name, Ocean Hunter III and started her journey to Cebu, there to undergo a complete refit and renovation prior to her return to Palau in March 2008 as the newest and most luxurious liveaboard in town.
Transformation of Lady Basten to Ocean Hunter III
Renovation photos: Lady Basten above and Ocean Hunter III below (Left), Lady Basten’s galley above and Ocean Hunter III galley below (center), Lady Basten’s lounge above and Ocean Hunter III lounge below (right)
About the Bornovskis
Tova and Navot Bornovski are the owners and managers of the Ocean Hunter I, Ocean Hunter III and Fish 'n Fins, the pioneer dive shop in Palau. They bring decades of dive time to the table. This intrepid couple traversed the seas on a 4-year around-the-world sailing trip in the '80s and fell in love with Palau. They began to work on the first liveaboard to dive Palau, the highly acclaimed Sun-tamarin. Tova and Navot worked as cook and dive master, respectively, for more than a year from 1986 to 1987, deepening their bond with Palau.
In 1993 after Navot had graduated as a Naval Architect and Mechanical Engineer in Israel, the Bornovskis returned to Palau, alongside friend Francis "Mr. Dive Palau" Toribiong. This time the Bornovskis crossed the Pacific in their newly- remodeled luxurious liveaboard, the Ocean Hunter, accompanied by their children Yarden (4) and Udi (3) at the time. Ever since, the Ocean Hunter has had a happy home in Palau and has taken out more than 350 groups of divers, all pampered by the same friendly family service provided by the Bornovskis and their experienced crew family. Yarden and Udi were joined by Liam and Gayl, born in Palau. They love meeting the children of divers venturing to Palau.
To explore Ocean Hunter III, see the menus at top and left. For small group diving in comfort, Ocean Hunter I can be found here. Or to explore Palau see the links below.