At first, Mike Carriker thought the whale-watching boat ahead of him in Favorite Channel had stopped on Sunday to watch some whales. Then he realized the passengers ahead of him were waving their arms frantically, calling for help.
“When you’re put in a situation like that, you don’t have a lot of opportunity to think, you have to act,” Carriker, 50, said.
Carriker was on board his boat “Sea Ya” with his wife, Erin, and their three young children, ages 11, 7 and 3. They had been keeping their distance from the 35-foot whale-watching boat “Big Red,” operated by Dolphin Jet Boat Tours, to maintain smoother waters. Suddenly, they needed to close that gap because something, although Carriker didn’t know what, was wrong.
“We realized we had to hurry, but