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First Skydives Over Greenland

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Five skydivers made the first ever jumps over the incredible landscape of Greenland

First skydives over Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
Photo by Bob Draijer

It’s cold, freezing cold here in Kangerlussuaq above the Polar circle. A herd of muskox grazes at the edge of the glacier. There’s not so much weed, it’s still winter. Although the spring stands at the doorstep.

Then, suddenly, the herd looks up. A humming noise comes closer. The herd forms a circle, there defensive position. The noise becomes clearer. It is a shiny red helicopter from Air Greenland. It climbs faster and faster, more than 10,000 feet. Look! Something unforeseen happens. Five little dots fall out of the chopper; four red ones and one purple. They come closer together, fall further and then the parachutes open. The flapping sounds travel far in the freezing cold polar skies.

First 5-way over Kangerlussuaq, photo by Bob Draijer

First sport skydives over Greenland

On 21 March 2024 we made the very first sport skydives above Greenland; a project organized by Bob Draijer. It wasn’t easy to arrange everything, but we succeeded! And how! On March 22 we made another jump above Kangerlussuaq. This time we built a 5-way formation, the record of the biggest freefall formation above Greenland!

After the first jump, we were inaugurated in the Order Of The Blue Nose, for crossing the Polar Circle.

Canopy flight over Kangerlussuaq, photo by Bob Draijer

Kangerlussuaq

In total we made four jumps; two above Kangerlussuaq and two above the capital, Nuuk. Kangerlussuaq means ‘long fjord’. It’s situated about 110 miles inland, very close to the beginning of the great ice cap. When we arrived, everything was frozen solid. During daytime it was -25°C and at night-time close to -40°C. Here we have saw the beautiful Northern Lights.

Exit over Nuuk, photo by Bob Draijer

Nuuk

Nuuk is situated near the ocean, at the mouth of a fjord. Nuuk means ‘peninsula’ or ‘cape’ in Greenlandic. Around Nuuk there are a lot of snowy skerries. It is stunningly beautiful. The jumps in Nuuk were around sunset time, when the weak sunlight felt over the water, putting everything in a mysterious blue polar light.

Nuuk jumps, by Bob Draijer

Inuit culture

Apart from the skydiving we immersed ourselves in the Greenlandic Inuit culture. Since prehistoric times, they have been fully adapted to the cold, and to the hunting way of life. A lot of people wear clothes made from seal fur or muskox wool. Reindeer antlers and skin are seen everywhere. The traditional diet is seal meat (not so tasty 😊) and whale steak. Fish and shrimps are also on the menu. For vitamins the Greenlandic people eat whale skin with blubber and seaweed.

Scenic Flight

Thanks to Ronald we made a scenic helicopter flight over the ice cap. It was very impressive to see so much ice rising more than 200 feet above the land.

Flying over Nuuk peninsular

Lucky

Weatherwise, we were very lucky. The first two days it was very cold, but clear skies. When we went to Nuuk our flight was delayed seven times, for weather reasons. Temperatures were rising, causing the weather to get worse. When we finally were able to fly to Nuuk, the skies were clear again that evening. After the jumps it collapsed again to 1,000 ft overcast and stayed like that as long as we were in Greenland.

This was a very special, extreme and beautiful expedition, which all five of us savored very much. It was a trip for us, the history books of Greenland and the sport.

The team: Bob Draijer, Joëlle Draijer, Ronald Engelage, Oana Oros, Arnold Camfferman

Organisation

All photos and video are by the trip’s organizer, Bob Draijer. Bob is a professional skydive instructor, demo jumper, rigger and event organizer. He has 19,200 jumps, and has been jumping for over 40 years, spanning 44 countries.

The project was unsponsored and non commercial – purely for fun and the unique, beautiful experience.

About Greenland

Greenland (Greenlandic: Kalaallit Nunaat) has about 56.500 inhabitants, from which the main part in Inuit. Since 1814 it’s a Danish colony, although Greenland has some kind of self-government since 1979. The official language is Greenlandic, also known as West-Greenlandic. And everybody knows Danish.

Greenland is one big ice cap for the biggest part. At the west coast and the east coast there are some small settlements around the fjords and in the north there are some settlements inhabited by hunter communities.The capital is Nuuk, with around 20,000 inhabitants. Until 1953 Greenland was a closed country, completely governed by Copenhagen. The US military had some bases here as well. The Inuit lived from hunting and fishing in small communities. The Danish profited from the export of fur and minerals from the earth. They also tried to suppress the indigenous culture by sending the Inuit to Danish boarding schools and forcing them to live in the city. Hunting and fishing were regulated strongly. However, latest decades, there is a revival of the indigenous Inuit culture.

Greenland Jump Video by Bob Draijer

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Meet: Joelle Draijer

Video jumper, rigger and world traveler.
600 jumps, jumped in 24 countries

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