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Sisters Seas the Day While Saving the Ocean

What started as a recreational hobby for Camille Woods has turned into an ocean conservation effort directly from her Hobie Outback kayak. Woods collected a league of ladies to join her in chasing whales, collecting trash from the water, and reporting injured or distressed marine wildlife.

DANA POINT— Roughly six years ago, Camille Woods, a Dana Point local, started a unique version of a social club that meets only on the water. After deciding to take a step back from her career in real estate, Woods formed Sea Sisters, a club that combines friendship with a mutual love for the ocean.

Woods, 72, has spent her entire life on the ocean, she transformed her recreational kayaking adventures into a way to chase whales, report injured marine life, and clean up ocean trash, all while enjoying the company of her friends out on the water. On slow days, the ladies will dock their pedal powered Hobie Kayaks in the Dana Point Harbor and enjoy a lunch out together.

“When we are out there, we pick up so many mylar balloons and trash,” said Woods. “It’s heartbreaking, and truthfully I would love to see them outlaw mylars because the fish pick at them, and then they die, and then when the balloon loses all its color, the bigger marine life eats them because they think they are fish.”


According to, nearly 45-50 million balloons are sold in California each year, and according to the Ocean Conservancy’s Annual International Coastal Clean-Up, almost 300,000 balloons are found along the U.S. beaches. As a result, the Entanglement Network estimates that over 100,000 marine mammals die from plastic entanglement or ingestion each year. In addition, research has found that mylar balloons don’t begin to break down, if at all, until several years in the ocean.


While the sisters are collecting trash, they also keep an eye out for whales and dolphins. The ladies often leave the sand at 8 a.m. and return at 11 p.m. They pack their lunches, radios, and endurance for their long day of supporting the ocean and admiring the adventures.


“We love to chase the whales,” said Woods. “We have seen hundreds of dolphins at a time. I’ve even had a baby whale come right past me to show me its blowhole. It doesn’t scare me at all. I always say I’ll have a great story for my grandkids. They’ll say, ‘oh how did your nana die?’ and they’ll say, ‘she got ran over by a whale.'”


According to, if you see a whale while out in a kayak or a smaller vessel, and the whale approaches closely, stop paddling and let the animal pass. If you need to move around, do so from behind the whale and avoid sudden changes in direction. In addition, do not chase a whale head-on and give them as much space as you can. It is perfectly described as “sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.”


As far as the environment is concerned the sisters are a very consciences group.


“We also like to look for and report injured animals. For example, I recently was out there [the Dana Point Harbor], and two sea lions were completely wrapped on their neck with fishing line. So, what we do is we take pictures, document where they are, and I send it to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach, and they will devise a plan to help them,” said Woods.  


The Pacific Marine Mammal Center rescues, rehabilitates, and releases marine mammals. To contact them, please call (949) 494-3050. If you believe an animal is injured, you can also contact the West Coast Marine Mammal Stranding Network at 1-866-767-6114.


 The versatile group rotates and adjusts in favor of women being free to come and go as they please. All are welcome under the reasonable requirements of Sea Sisters; all intentions must be good and productive.


“There are ten real core ladies, but we will have people come in and out of the group, but not everybody has the time to meet constantly, so it all depends on the day,” said Woods.


The trips are also adjusted to the women and accommodate any issue that might bring down their pace. This is done by rerouting, relocating to calmer waters, and adjusting the duration of the trip.


The club is a group for all, and those interested can contact Camille Woods at (949) 887-2519.  

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