Our Crew + Vessels
Coastal Connections is committed to the principles of sustainable marine eco-tourism. By booking only small groups we provide quality interactive tours and outdoor adventures while minimizing impacts on the ecosystems we visit.
Our family-friendly activities and programs entertain as well as educate. We hope our eco-tours will inspire people to take their knowledge home and be proactive within their own environment. As well, the information we gather will be shared with the scientific community to help increase the knowledge and understanding of our local ecosystems.
- 2006 – Winner of the Parks Canada/Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador Award for Sustainable Tourism
- 2006 – Finalist for the Parks Canada National Sustainable Tourism Award
Captain Jan Negrijn (Owner/Operator)
Our guests are in good hands with Captain Jan. He’s been in love with the sea his whole life. As the founder of Coastal Connections, he’s brought together his years of experience as a fisherman, diver, educator, heritage interpreter and research vessel captain to inspire people to care deeply about the ocean.
He’s a gifted teacher who blends state-of-the-art technology (sonar, subsea cameras and remotely operated vehicles), with hands-on, active learning to showcase science and inspire people of all ages.
Capt. Negrijn is also the cofounder of the Oceans Learning Partnership and the main supplier for its Coastal Explorers field school. This floating classroom delivers interpretive programs to students, as well as a professional development program for teachers.
Hillary Wainwright (Marine Interpreter)
Hillary is originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia but now calls St. John’s home. She grew up close to the sea, and developed a love for the ocean very early on. Whether it was running around the beach at the cottage searching for crabs or whale watching in the Bay of Fundy, the ocean has always intrigued her. As an animal lover and environmental enthusiast, after high school she decided to attend University of King’s College to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental science and marine ecology. In addition to nature, she has always loved working with children and at age 14, first started teaching horse back riding lesson at a small summer camp in Nova Scotia. Later she spent many summers in Ontario leading canoe trips and teaching children about camping and the environment.
Hillary is well travelled and has gained memorable ocean experiences all over the globe such as scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, snorkelling in Thailand, swimming with green turtles and helping to relocate loggerhead turtle eggs to safety. She most recently spent the off season working at the Bamfield Marine Science Centre on Vancouver Island as a marine educator with their K-12 field trip program.
Hillary is extremely excited to be returning with the Coastal Connections crew this year as it combines her love for the ocean and the outdoors, and sharing these passions with others.
MV Coastal Explorer
The MV Coastal Explorer was originally built as lobster fishing boat on Prince Edward Island in 1986. This 42 foot long vessel has since been refitted as a passenger vessel to make our tours as comfortable as possible. When Captain Jan Negrijn bought the boat in 2004, he transformed her into a floating classroom, outfitted with all the tools and equipment needed to make it one of a kind in not only Newfoundland, but Atlantic Canada. Throughout her multifaceted career so far, she has stood up to the demanding conditions of the Atlantic Ocean. She is extremely safe and reliable, and up to the rigorous Transport Canada regulations to be a passenger vessel. Operating in the North Arm of the Holyrood Harbour, we are well protected and have access to a wide variety of the best wildlife Newfoundland has to offer!