This video shows the only friends we made on the Patagonian coast.
This pod of Commerson's Dolphins stuck with us through thick and thin for hundreds of miles of sailing. They are the cutest of all cetaceans at about five feet long. Most dolphins/porpoises swim excitedly off your bow, sometimes for hours, but if you stop the boat they lose interest quickly and drift off. No so with our friends the Commerson's Dolphins. When the weather got nasty we hove too, as we did in this video, and they hung out in the slick we left to windward…for hours. When it was time to roll out the jib and start sailing again, the pod put it back in gear too, and off we went as a pack.
The best action was when we'd motor into it. The winds were offshore, so the closer we could get to shore the smoother it got. After drifting offshore for an hour or so we'd fire up the engine and plow into it toward the beach, which made the Commerson's Dolphins go nuts. They jumped every time we smacked into a wave, just opposite the wheelhouse, so at times we looked eye-to-eye with a flying Commerson's Dolphin. And all of this in water that was cold enough to kill a man in ten minutes.
When we got passed Cabo Virgenes, the end of the contiguous American continent (and very under-publicized as capes go, because when you pass it you really feel like you're leaving something behind) the Commerson's Dolphins peeled away, and we missed them.
Most of the other videos on YouTube seem to show them in tanks at marine parks. I don't like to see my friends in tanks.