'Hook' A Great Day At Sea With Al Gauron's

By John Deming, Beach News Staff Writer

Beach News, Thursday, June 23, 2005

[The following article is courtesy of Beach News.]

HAMPTON -- A sandy beach is but one way to enjoy the ocean.

There's nothing like be surrounded by miles of seawater, and depending on your inclinations, Al Gauron's has a way to get you out there.

A family-owned business, Al Gauron's Deep Sea Fishing and Whale Watching offers a number of things to do at sea—there are whole and half-day fishing trips, whale-watching ventures with guaranteed sightings, even an Island Fireworks Cruise.

The Gauron crew, located at 1 Ocean Boulevard, has been in the fishing industry for generations.

Hailing from a long line of lobstermen, Al Gauron started a small charter fishing business in the late 1930s.

Now operated by his three sons Rocky, Ronnie and Randy, the family business has grown considerably.

It has three large seafaring vessels; "The Whitestar," "The Starfish" and "The Northern Star." The boats take customers fishing and whale-watching, take them on fireworks cruises and sometimes go out on chartered group outings.

Boats are clean and spacious, and have covered cabins and padded seats for a comfortable ride.

And this year the Gauron tradition has been passed down again, with 19-year-old sailing prodigy Cory Gauron spending his first year as captain of the "Starfish." As part of his training, Gauron had to spend 720 eight-hour days at sea, he said.

Fishing trips cover all levels of interest. There are half-day, four-hour trips and full-day, eight-hour trips. There is a "Fishing Marathon" — that is, 12 hours of fishing — and if that isn't enough, there are two-hour night trips.

Fish you may pull from the water include cod, pollack, mackerel, haddock, redfish, wolfish, hake, cusk and sandsharks. Helpful on-board employees will help you de-hook them, will tell you if they're big enough to keep, and will even fillet them for you on the ride home so you can take 'em home ready for a fish-fry.

The Gaurons pride themselves on offering "a trip for every budget."

Looking for an omelet and a cup of coffee before your morning at sea? Stop by the restaurant located on the premises. It is a staple for local sailors, with a friendly staff and a delicious, affordable menu.

For everyone's convenience, there are also a bait-and-tackle store and gift shop on the premises.

Instead of fishing, would you rather spend your time at sea kicking back and looking for enormous mammals?

Gauron's whale-watching trips are a great way to stare at limitless sky and ocean while spying some of nature's most impressive creatures. The trips, beginning in July, take place daily from 1:30-6:30 p.m.

Boats travel 10 to 40 miles from shore, the average distance in peak summer being 15 to 25 miles.

The Gaurons are so confident you'll see a whale that, in the off-chance that there are no sightings, they offer a free trip to all aboard.

And apart from the finback, humpback, pilot and minke whales you're liable to see, there is also a good chance you'll spot sharks, seals, a variety of seabirds and dolphins that are known to swim right along with the boat.

Because the boats are part of a research group in Gloucester, there will also be a naturalist on board to guide you through the experience.

The three-hour Fireworks Cruise, held each Wednesday, includes a narrated tour out to the Isles of Shoals before anchoring a half-mile from Hampton's shoreline to enjoy colorful fireworks in the sky, reflected upon the water for a stirring mariner's perspective.

To contact Al Gauron's, call (800) 905-7820. Group rates are available, and reservations are always suggested. Calling ahead the day of your cruise to check on weather conditions is a good idea, and you can visit their Web site at www.algauron.com for price charts, sailing schedules, weather forecasts and trip descriptions.

Be sure to bring along a jacket and a comfortable pair of shoes — and of course, don't forget the camera.