March 15 Holland. I was abUSAed in Boston.

Written by Jack van Ommen on March 15th, 2012

Jetlagged and losing 5 hours of the day I was dead tired on arrival. I should not have opened my luggage before  I went to bed at 8 p.m. local time. When I woke at midnight I could not get back to sleep. I was angry. When I had opened the back pack I found a handwritten note from an inspector of the Transportation Security Administration: “Your Marine Sealant was punctured upon arrival to our screening location…..”.

It felt just like the one time when the house had been broken into. Why would anyone want to search the backpack of a 75 year old leaving the country? How could this possibly have been punctured the way I packed it? I lay awake for another 4 hours. Then I had to take a better look. As it turned out both tubes of MMM5200 had opened up from the stowage in the unpressurized baggage department of the JetBlue flight from Richmond, Va, to Boston. I had bought two separate tickets and had to check the bag in again in Boston, where I had a 4 hour wait between the departure to Heathrow. Most likely the intrusion into my luggage would not have happened if I had checked it closer to the departure time.  I should have packed the two tubes in a zip-lock bag. But why did they get the black mess on my only pair of dress shoes I own? The shoes were on the very top of the bag far from the tubes in the bottom of the bag. 5200 is nasty stuff, once it sets up it forms a permanent bond. I use it to recaulk my teak deck joints. They wrapped the tubes in their (used and smeared with the sealant) blue surgical gloves. We may need to take up a collection for the TSA to keep a few zip lock bags on hand. There were a few smears and smudges from their gloves on other items, ironically on the new USA ensign I had bought for the boat, but other than the ruined shoes, the damage appears minor. And I managed to get to sleep. But the discouragement with this system remains. You can blame 9-11 or what ever. But the political administrative solutions imposed on us are a farce for the most part. On this 4 months trip to the USA I went through at least a dozen security checks at different airports and border crossings and every one had a different procedure. With all the effort and money spent on it we’d be better of buying the love of the people who want to harm the USA and provide jobs for the illegal immigrants in their own country. 

Tomorrow I’ll feel better, I promise.

The next blog shall have more details on my schedule for the stay in Holland till April 11. I have had a great response to my call for help with editing “The Mastmakers Daughters” en de “De Mastmakers Dochters” and it looks that for both books the 5 sections are covered. I will respond to the volunteers and work out the assignments and procedure. My Dutch cellphone is still hibernating on “Fleetwood” and at last call to it it still responds. I will try to get a Mobile number to use till April 11. In the meantime I have bought a very inexpensive subscription on Skype to make calls to landlines in Holland from my laptop. And  also still have the less than $ 9.00 for three month subscription for unlimited calls to landlines and cell phones in USA and Canada, so if you like to talk to me send me an e-mail or SMS/Text to jackvanommen on Skype and I’ll call you from Holland or from the Mediterranean.



2 Comments so far ↓

  1. Rick says:


    Just a technical correction – baggage compartments on jetliners are pressurised the same as the cabins.


  2. jackvanommen says:

    Hi, Rick. Yes, that has been my experience as well. But I am reasonable certain that the JetBlue from Richomond Va to Boston was not pressurized. Both tubes had the content squeezed out of the very corners of the end of the (triple folded) flat ends of the tubes. Thanks also for Visa info Happy Cruising season and Blessed Happy Easter, see you soon.