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Internet Down Now What?

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: December 16, 2020
Internet Down Now What?

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Fall is definitely here. The leaves are finally falling from the trees and in the Pacific Northwest the infamous November winds have started. A number of years back, Seattle lost a bridge to those winds and once, in the 70s, a tree fell on my house.

Here on San Juan Island, the winds have not been too bad.  Fifty to sixty mile gusts are quite common and we take the wind storms in stride. On the other hand, we have another problem.  All communication to and from the island has ground to a halt. There is no DSL internet service, marginally intermittent cell service, no texting an no POTS (land line service).


So how am I posting this update? With a lick and a prayer, 3G service is available on my iPad but only in town at the ferry terminal.  In addition, our fabulous public library has a high speed fiber connection separate from the more typical DSL service that most consumers and businesses use.

How long will this disruption last? The Seattle news stations are reporting up to 12 days, maybe longer.  Here is the official word:

Since the early morning hours of Nov. 5, there has been a widespread phone service outage affecting the San Juan Islands. There is local phone service within each island, but island to island and long distance is out. The outage is affecting 911 service from Lopez, Shaw and Orcas to dispatch on Friday Harbor.  For Friday Harbor residents, there is also no cell coverage or internet service.

The outage is due to problem with the underwater cable between Lopez and San Juan Islands. No ETA for return of service, but this is a significant repair that will require specialized equipment and personnel to fix.

What Happens Next?

This weekend I will be temporarily moving to my off-island bug out location where, for now, communications should be viable.  That said, there are some critical lessons learned during this experience and you can be sure that I have been taking notes so that I can share them with you.  Here is a hint:  the HAM radio needs to come out of its box and I need to become licensed!

Alas, today’s announcement of the Winter Blast giveaway will have to wait until I have better connectivity.  Hopefully that will happen early next week.  My apologies to those of you that were looking forward to hearing about all of the goodies.

The Final Word

There has been a certain peace in my household these last couple of days. No running to check email every hour, no internet fact-checking, and no sense of urgency thinking that I might miss something by not perusing my favorite websites.

Yes, there can be life after the internet and without technology and this is a good test of my coping skills.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you have not done so already, please be sure to like Facebook which is updated every time there is an awesome new article, news byte, or link to a free survival, prepping or homesteading book on Amazon.  You can also follow Backdoor Survival on Pinterest.

In addition, when you sign up to receive email updates you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

Bargain Bin: Here are some of my favorite food storage items. Whether you are just getting started or a seasoned pro, here are the items you will need when purchasing food in bulk for long term, SHTF needs. And to help with your food storage questions, coming soon, my new eBook: The Preppers Guide to Food Storage.

Mylar bags & Oxygen Absorbers: What I love about Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers is they protect against every single one of the food storage enemies. Prices do vary but for the most part, they are inexpensive and easy to keep on hand. And while you can seal them up with a FoodSaver, some tubing and a common clothes iron, I find it infinitely easier with a cheap hair straightening iron that you can pick up for very cheap.

60 – 300cc Oxygen Absorbers: This is one area where you want to make sure you are getting a quality product.

Mylar Zip Seal Food Storage Bags: These are the zip seal bags that I used to package up my spices, herbs and butter powder. These are extra heavy, 5 mil bags. I found that the zip feature made packaging extra easy although I still seal the bags with my hair iron.

FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer: As long as the unit has an accessory port (and this one does), and inexpensive FoodSaver will work just as well as the fancier models. That is my two cents, at least.

FoodSaver Wide Mouth Jar Sealer: Already have a FoodSaver? If so, check out this jar sealer which can be used to vacuum seal your Mason jars. This is a great option for short to mid term storage of items such as beans, rice, sugar and salt. Store your jars in a cool, dark place and you are set with the added advantage of removing a small amount for current use without having to disrupt your large Mylar bag or bucket of food.  There is also a version for regular sized jars.

Sharpie Permanent Markers: Sharpies were invented for preppers! And without question, Amazon is the cheapest place to buy them.

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These are just some f the items on sale this month at Emergency Essentials.  Click on the link below for more great deals from Emergency Essentials.

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5 Responses to “Internet Down Now What?”

  1. “there are some critical lessons learned during this experience ”

    We learned a big lesson from the Hawaii earthquake of 2006.

    We had been prepared for hurricanes, which give at least a couple days’ notice, so we had collapsible 5 gallon water jugs to fill when needed.

    Earthquakes give no notice. When the quake hit, Hawaiian Electric Company’s generators all shut down to protect them from damage. It took c.14 hours to bring them back up.

    It turned out that the Board of Water Supply depended on HECO electricity to run the water plants and pumping stations. No back up generators. No HECO, no water.

    The government implored people not to use any water unnecessarily because if the tanks in the mountains were emptied, there would be no water to fight fires. Or drink.

    It never occurred to us that the Board of Water Supply wouldn’t have back up generators. Foolish, trusting, us. It only occurred to us later that if we did get hit by a really bad hurricane, thousands of houses would be destroyed, and that would break their water laterals, making it impossible to fill the big tanks.

    So now we stock water, and, because the neighbors have a pool, a lot of filters.

    Lessons learned.

  2. Having been on Orcas Island, I understand the outage. I have talked to many who are CERT trained, they use hand held HAMS or CBs. I will be checking into both. Do enjoy this time. They are saying we have several storms stacking up just waiting to come in. Stay dry. 🙂

  3. you know you can get hand warmers a lot of times cheaper than the oxygen absorbers.. they do the exact same thing … thought I would share that.. I use an iron with just a peice of cloth over the plastic to iron the bags shut to.. works great at resealing potato chip bags to..

  4. Don’t believe that Gaye. It is in preparation for the power outage next week. They say it will be going from west to east. Either that, or someone in Washington is screwing with you…

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