S2 EP8 – Dr Lesley Cadzow – The Unusual Adventures of a Ship-based Expedition Doctor


Expedition Doctor Lesley Cadzow was born in Scotland and spent her formative years pouring over medical books, with a keen interest in tropical diseases. She trained as a general practitioner before following an opportunity to New Zealand where she found herself working as a pediatric registrar flying premature babies around the North Island.

She then settled in Australia and began her work with the Royal Flying Doctor Service, providing treatment to indigenous communities all over the country.

Through a connection from her time at Glasgow University, she was introduced to expedition cruising and became an onboard doctor with Aurora Expeditions, a tour operator based in Sydney. This opportunity has taken her to the Arctic and Antarctic, and everywhere in between including Papua New Guinea and the Kamchatka Peninsula.





Kayaking in Antarctica

In this episode, Lesley shares with us her fascinating journey from general practice work in Scotland to warming up an unconscious hypothermic scuba diver in Antarctica, with plenty of weird and wonderful tales along the way.



4:20 Early childhood interest in becoming a doctor pouring through medical books as a young girl

5:24 Flying premature babies as a pediatric registrar in New Zealand

6:58 Working with the Royal Flying Doctors Service bringing care to Australia’s most remote communities

10:23 Lesley’s introduction to expedition cruising with a trip to the remote islands off the coast of Scotland

13:07 Crossing the infamous Drake Passage on her first trip to the Antarctic Peninsula

15:09 A “beautiful and spooky” orca encounter while Zodiac cruising through the Lemaire Channel

20:53 Lesley recounts treating a hypothermic scuba diver during an Antarctic expedition

27:15 Practicing medicine in Antarctica is getting “back to basics”

28:25 The difficulty of stitching someone back up during rough seas

32:00 Acupuncture treatment in the Drake Passage and searching for contraception in the Orkney Islands of Scotland

38:23 What happens when the doctor is the one who gets sick?

43:40 A new sense of appreciation gained from guests who come on board with disabilities

47:38 Lesley’s special memory of being “land sick” amongst the penguins

49:31 Future plans including an upcoming expedition by camel to the “red center” of Australia



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