Lemaire Channel, Antarctica, Jan. 10, 2007 - A view of the Lemaire Channel from the deck of the National Geographic Endeavor. The size tours are limited in the Antarctic due to both impact on the wildlife and the difficulty of navigating the narrow straits. The continent of Antarctica is has no indigenous people, no permanent inhabitants and is not the sovereign territory of any nation. It does however have politics. It is governed by an international agreement known as the Antarctic Treaty, which has been signed by 45 countries. The treaty stipulates that the continent can only be used for scientific research, which must be shared. Until, the mid 1980's the only visitors were scientists. By the mid 90's the number of tourists surpassed the number of scientists. In the 2005-06 season that number jumped to nearly 30,000. Currently there are few restrictions of the number of visitors, with most tour companies also supporting research. Lindblad/National Geographic Tour is one of those companies. The tourism finances the research arm of the company and allows for a meaningful opportunity to educate travelers about the many aspects of this valuable ecosystem. .