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Free falling 14,000 feet above Nadi's Port Denarau.
Skydive manager Tim Joyce prepares to take Fijilive writer Marvin Poonan for the dive.

Freefalling towards earth at 200 kilometres an hour is an adrenaline rush like no other. It's an experience that one cannot fully appreciate without jumping off an aircraft thousands of feet in the air.

As the late writer Hunter S Thompson, a man who was truly on the edge once said, "There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over".

Tourists have for years been drawn to Fiji's tropical climate, white sandy beaches, world-class resorts and its friendly people. Now there is a different breed of visitors heading to Fiji's shores attracted by the growth of adventure sports such as mountain climbing, kayaking, whitewater rafting and only recently the mother of it all - skydiving.

My hands trembled as I sat in the small but steady Skydive Fiji aircraft trying my best to look brave in front of the two women who were also on the flight.

It is a beautiful Thursday morning and we are 14,000 feet above the sea, a few miles off the coast of Port Denarau in Nadi.

The view is stunning. I hear someone call out my name and it's Paul Morton, an experienced skydiver sitting opposite me who asks if I'm ready for the ultimate thrill.

All I manage in response is an unconvincing nod.

Also on board the aircraft is a bubbly female tourist form England, Sadie Yates, skydiver/camerawoman, Lelonie Cilliers, pilot Arun Patel and Skydive Fiji head honcho Tim Joyce.

Joyce set up Skydive Fiji in June 2004 in downtown Nadi and less than a year on, almost 800 people have made the leap with the company, most of them first timers.

Joyce came to Fiji on board a cruise ship with his family a few years ago and was surprised to learn that there were no skydiving opportunities here. It dawned on him that Fiji's natural beauty would make it an ideal skydiving destination and was soon working towards making that a reality.

"In Fiji I saw the potential for a whole bunch of exciting activities. Fiji has a lot more to offer tourists than a relaxing holiday centred primarily in resorts," said Joyce.

All of Skydive Fiji's instructors have made the leap over 3000 times. Joyce has been skydiving for over 30 years and has 3500 jumps under his belt.

A former professional lifeguard and helicopter instructor with over 14,000 hours of flying, the Australian has also piloted acrobatic aircraft.

"I did my first skydive when I was 16 and knew immediately that it was something I would do...





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