BALI, Indonesia -- An Ankeny couple currently in Indonesia is grateful a "gut feeling" kept them from traveling right into the thick of the tsunami over the weekend.
Rather than exchange gifts, Salih and Ilma Jahic travel every year for their anniversary. This year, they chose Indonesia, but they never could've imagined they would be just hours away from a natural disaster that is devastating the country.
The Jahics had everything planned out. Plane tickets and bags [were] packed to take them to their next island in their Indonesia adventure. But for some unknown reason, the Ankeny couple chose to cancel plans last minute.
“We were supposed to be up there today in the area. Two days ago we decided not to go and it wasn’t because of anything, we just didn't really feel like it,” Salih Jahic said.
They chose to stay around the main island of Bali, on a small island called Penida, rather than head to the island of Java where the deadly tsunami occurred.
“Once you think about it, it is fate because we had no idea that it was going to happen or that it did happen. We just decided we don't really feel like going and we canceled our stuff and came here just to relax on the beach,” Salih said.
Early Saturday, the couple felt their first earthquake during breakfast. Besides that, they said you would never be able to tell a tsunami hit so close.
“It’s literally island by island. We’re right next to where the tsunami hit, [but] the sea is very calm. The people are just vacationing and working,” Salih said.
In fact, the Jahics found out about the tsunami first from people back in Iowa.
“I get a text from my mom, my dad, my grandpa that lives in Europe, everybody, just saying ‘hey are you guys ok?’” Salih said. Not even the waves on the ocean gave cause for concern.
“When the news outlets were saying it was happening we were actually on a boat to come to a different island,” Salih said. “The waves were pretty big but it wasn't anything. [At least] that’s what they told us. That is was normal.”
The couple isn't returning to Iowa until New Year's Eve. And although the National Disaster Mitigation Agency in Indonesia is warning the country that more tsunamis are possible, as long as the volcano remains active, they aren't worried for their safety further south.
“It happens in that particular area, and it doesn't really mean it's going to happen in our island where we are staying,” Salih said. “But it did freak us out a little bit because we didn't know what to expect.”