Safety On Secret Atlas Expeditions

Status update on the current bird flu situation in South Georgia

Report from IAATO, 30 Jan 2024

  1. Currently there is a team who is conducting site surveys around South Georgia, and using the information to feed back into HPAI site assessment process.
  2. Re-Opening GSGSSI has undertaken a detailed site survey and review of HPAI reports from Fortuna Bay – Whistle Cove. Whilst a degree of mortality is natural in many species and life stages, the survey showed no above baseline mortality or evidence of HPAI infection at the site. On this basis, and following protocols outlined in the Biosecurity Handbook, Fortuna will move from a Level 2 to a Level 1 site and is re-opened for visits under caution. Fortuna Bay – Whistle Cove Kings is open in the ship scheduler for landings.
  3. The current closed visitor sites in South Georgia are: 1. St. Andrews Bay 2. Royal Bay (All sites) 3. Gold Harbour 4. Cooper Bay (All Sites) 5. Elsehul (All Sites) 6. Cobblers Cove 7. Rookery Point 8. Right Whale Bay 9. Maiviken 10. Jason Harbour 11. Ocean Harbour 12. Salisbury Plain 13. Husvik 14. Rosita Harbour 15. Peggotty Bluff 16. Stromness 17. Shackleton Cemetery Landing (Museum landing remains open)

Updated: 26th January 2024

Certain landing sites in South Georgia have been temporarily closed due to the ongoing situation, which remains extremely dynamic.

Alternative sites are available for landings, and Zodiac cruises are still possible,

Our commitment to making the most of our time at open sites remains unchanged.

We are planning to offer scenic Zodiac cruises at key locations that are currently closed, and we are flexible in adjusting our itineraries accordingly to the available landing sites.

Please be aware that our decisions are based on the latest information provided by local governments, IAATO, and our vessels.

The Government of South Georgia regularly updates its list of available sites, indicating both reopened locations and new closures.

While certain sites remain inaccessible, predicting the availability of landing sites for the upcoming expedition remains challenging due to bird flu and weather restrictions inherent in visiting places like South Georgia.

We will ensure to keep our guests informed and if you have any questions regarding your booking to South Georgia, please contact us at [email protected]

Biosecurity Protocols Regarding Avian Influenza 2023/24 Antarctica & South Georgia

Updated: 13th November 2023 

IAATO is the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators and an organisation that promotes the practice of safe and environmentally responsible travel to Antarctica. 

The review of avian influenza has been monitored continuously to help protect wildlife, including seabirds and seals. In consultation with SCAR Antarctic Wildlife Health Working Group, additional protocols for the 2023 season have been introduced. 

IAATO is monitoring the risk of avian influenza that could affect the travel itineraries for the 2023-2024 Antarctica season. Official announcements for IAATO and further details can be found here. 

In response to this, Secret Atlas is committed to implementing rigorous biosecurity measures, following the guidance of IAATO, to safeguard and protect the cherished wildlife we hold in such high regard. We ensure an unforgettable experience for you, and we will do everything in our power to make it exceptional, no matter what unexpected circumstances may arise.

We will ensure to keep our guests informed with any new information, and if you have any questions regarding your booking to Antarctica or South Georgia, please contact us at [email protected]

Secret Atlas Health & Safety

Updated: 18th July 2023

We have the Health and Safety of our guests, guides, crew at heart.

As COVID-19 is now an established and ongoing health issue which no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern by WHO, there is no longer any vaccination, testing or masking requirements on our expeditions.

We follow the guidelines and protocols laid out by authorities in the regions where our expeditions take place.

There is currently no requirement to obtain a negative test prior to travel to any of our embarkation ports in Svalbard, Greenland, Argentina or the Falkland Islands.

We advise all travellers to have been vaccinated or recovered from Covid prior to travel, although this is no longer mandatory. Unvaccinated travellers do so at their own risk.

We urge you to take out the necessary travel insurance which covers you in the event you have to cancel your trip due to illness prior to your expedition.

Before Your journey

Please take out adequate travel insurance that covers your trip, you can see our travel insurance checklist here of all the things we recommend you cover. 

We highly recommend that you are vaccinated against Covid-19 or fully recovered before commencing your travels.

Continue to practice good hygiene measures such as regular hand washing and mask wearing if you choose to do so in public areas. 

We recommend taking an antigen self-test before leaving your home if you show symptoms or have been exposed to someone with symptoms of Covid to help you rule out any possible infection prior to travel.

During Your Voyage

On the vessel please practice good hygiene procedures such as regular hand washing. 

If you develop symptoms of Covid-19 during your voyage we recommend you isolate yourself until your symptoms have passed. 

Our ships will be cleaned on a regular basis to ensure a healthy environment. Hand sanitiser will be supplied in guest areas.

On Polar Pioneer departures to South Georgia and Antarctica there is a doctor onboard who can assist in the case you feel unwell.

In the unlikely event of a medical emergency our normal safety procedures will be followed.


Travel insurance is mandatory on all our departures. You should take out comprehensive travel insurance that covers interruptions to your trip as protection against an emergency, which may force you to leave a trip while it is in progress. It is also strongly advised to have cancellation insurance, should get sick or test positive before travelling. 

Please make sure these insurances cover Covid-19 related matters. 

See our travel insurance page