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Karen Richardson

Project Director 1st Assistant, Medical Officer

Karen was born and raised on Sydney’s Northern beaches and claims to have spent more of her childhood underwater than on land. She first learned to dive aged 16 and has subsequently plunged into the seven seas from the tropics to the poles and obtained certification up to PADI Rescue Diver. Originally intending a career in marine biology she was somehow sidelined into studying medicine and graduated from Sydney University with an honours degree. She made a concerted effort to return to the ocean by working in diving and hyperbaric medicine, obtaining postgraduate qualifications in this field from the South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society and the University of Auckland. Her research interests include divers presenting with decompression illness and medical encounters on diving expeditions. She has travelled to both poles previously as a participant in the International Polar Diving Workshop at Svalbard and as a human subject in regulator performance testing in extreme ice conditions at McMurdo Station. Recently accused of being a ‘serial adventurer’ by her boss, Karen’s medical career has been peppered with avid travel including four years delivering and racing yachts around the Caribbean and numerous jaunts through Europe, the South Pacific, Asia, the Americas, North Africa and the Middle East. When not travelling or working she may sometimes be found flying a paraglider, juggling fire, swinging on trapeze, rock climbing, surfing, sailing, strumming a guitar, composting the organic vege patch or vigorously defending her recycled car. She has always been passionate about preserving, exploring and enjoying the stunning and savage beauty that exists on this planet.