Jumpers Explore Greenland from the Air
Five Minute Call | Jun 12, 2024
Jumpers Explore Greenland from the Air

Bob Draijer

The milestone 5-way builds over Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. Photo by Bob Draijer.

Above: The members of the expedition pose for a photo following their 5-way jump. Photo by Bob Draijer.

It was cold—freezing cold—in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, above the Polar Circle. A herd of muskox grazed at the edge of the glacier, then looked up and instinctively formed a defensive circle as a humming noise evolved in the sky. The noise came from a shiny red Air Greenland helicopter that climbed quickly, surpassing 10,000 feet. Then five jumpers emerged.

In March, Bob Draijer, D-15531, organized an expedition team that made what are thought to be the first sport skydives above Greenland, including a 5-way Greenland record for largest formation. The planning took almost two years. During their expedition, the team— Arnold Camfferman, Bob Draijer, Joëlle Draijer, Ronald Engelage and Oana Oros—made four jumps, including two over Nuuk, Greenland’s capital. Nuuk, nestled along the fjord, offered picturesque sunset jumps, casting the surroundings in a serene blue hue. In Kangerlussuaq, where temperatures plummeted to –40 degrees Fahrenheit at night, they marveled at the enchanting Northern Lights. Their feat earned them the prestigious Order of the Blue Nose for crossing the Arctic Circle.

Beyond skydiving, the team learned something about the Greenlandic Inuit culture: clothing made of seal fur and muskox wool, meals of whale steak and seal meat and a way of living in the harsh environment.

A scenic helicopter flight over the ice cap (thanks to Engelage) provided a bird’s-eye view of towering ice formations and endless frozen vistas. Weather-wise, the group was lucky, making skydives in the windows between periods of overcast. It was a very special, extreme and beautiful expedition, which all five members of the team savored.

Bob Draijer | D-15531
Apeldoorn, Netherlands

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