Puffin rescue effort turns into a surprise proposal

Partner made surprise proposal at sea while visiting from Virginia to take part in the Puffin Patrol rescue and release efforts

Couple travelled all the way from Virginia in order to take part in puffin catch-and-release efforts

Ginny Kinsey and Amanda Fallon came all the way to Newfoundland from Virginia to take part in the puffin rescue and release efforts. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

When you think of romance, puffins rarely — if ever — come to mind. However, for two Virginia natives visiting Newfoundland, the seabirds played a key role in their wedding proposal.

Amanda Fallon and Ginny Kinsey first became aware of Newfoundland after seeing the documentary "Puffin Patrol" which features the efforts of catching and releasing lost puffins in Witless Bay.

"Ever since I was a kid I've loved puffins, so Amanda took me to the film festival, and then it immediately became like a bucket list thing," Kinsey said

Fallon then decided there was no better time to pop the question while the couple were doing what they love. She decided to plan a surprise proposal.

In order to keep her plan under wraps she had to find a photographer who was willing to go undercover.

This couple released a few puffins and embraced their love. 0:40

Covert Ops

Fallon planned the proposal months in advance and carefully plotted out every detail.

"So the plan was to go out on a boat and have Ginny release a puffin, and then after she did," Fallon said.

"The weather was perfect, the birds cooperated and everything went swimmingly."

Fallon discovered local photographer Maddie Mills through her website and approached Mills with her romantic scheme.

Ginny Kinsey and Amanda Fallon aboard the Gatherall's Puffin and Whale Watch ship where Fallon proposed. (Maddie Mills Photo)

Fortunately for Fallon, Mills was more than happy to take part in espionage for a good cause. The two women made a coordinated effort to realize Fallon's dream.

Ginny Kinsey prepares to safely release a puffin that was rescued. (Maddie Mills Photo)

"It was definitely a joint effort in terms of me going on the boat, but Ginny had seen my name come up in Amanda's phone so I was nervous she had googled me," Mills said.

"So I showed up in a hat from Bagel Cafe and sunglasses; trying to, ya know, assimilate with everybody."

A trip to remember

Fallon and Kinsey have spent over a week on the island, and their time here has left a lasting impression.

They both speak highly of the everyday efforts of those involved with the Puffin Patrol and urge others to volunteer.

Their fondness for the people of the province goes further than the puffins.

Amanda Fallon, left, spent months planning out every detail of her proposal to Ginny Kinsey. (Maddie Mills Photo)

"I would recommend this province for anybody, for any reason, anytime. I mean what I saw online was a beautiful landscape and beautiful coastline," Fallon said.

"But the people here, the feeling, the genuineness, it's something that we will definitely take home with us and share with as many people as we can."

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

About the Author

Stephen Miller

Stephen Miller is a journalism student at the College of the North Atlantic and a contributor to CBC News in St. John's.