Obamas arrive for final Christmas vacation in the islands as first family

Published: Dec. 15, 2016 at 11:19 AM HST|Updated: Dec. 17, 2016 at 10:33 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - After closing his final news conference of the year with a "Mele Kalikimaka," President Obama and his family left behind chilly temperatures in the nation's capital for their annual Christmas vacation in the islands.

Obama and his family landed at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam about 11 p.m., and were met by U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, (D-Hawaii), Gov. David Ige, Mayor Kirk Caldwell and Adm. Harry Harris, U.S. Pacific Fleet commander.

After the president greeted the dignitaries, the family jetted off to their rented Kailua mansion by motorcade.

The U.S. Coast Guard has established a temporary security zone in Kailua Bay starting Friday at 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Jan. 2.

The maritime security zone starts from Kapoho Point and extends westward to the shoreline near Kailuana Loop. The zone also includes the adjacent channel beginning at Kapoho Point to the North Kalaheo Avenue Road bridge. An orange marker will indicate the perimeter of the security zone.

This will be the Obamas' final trip to Hawaii as the first family as the president's second term draws to a close.

It will be punctuated by a historic visit to the USS Arizona Memorial on Dec. 27 with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who will become the first Japanese leader to visit the site. Both will pay tribute to the lives lost in the attack on Pearl Harbor 75 years ago.

During last year's vacation, Obama spent much of his time working out at the gym, playing rounds of golf, going on hikes and dining at high-end restaurants, like Alan Wong's and MW Restaurant.

Obama and his family have been coming to the islands for the holidays since before he was elected president. But the Hawaii native kept up the tradition even after being elected to the White House.

His annual island vacations have hardly been dull, though.

The night of Dec. 26, 2008, a thunderstorm knocked out power throughout Oahu. The islandwide blackout lasted 12 hours, leaving then-President-elect Obama, his family and thousands of Oahu residents in the dark. The Obamas were offered power generators to use, but they never turned them on.

In 2009, on Obama's first full day in the islands, the infamous "underwear bomber" incident happened. A man allegedly tried to blow up a Northwest Air flight, and the president spent hours in security briefings.

That same year, during a round of golf, Obama suddenly left the course and rushed back to the presidential compound. Minutes later an ambulance drove away -- a family friend's son had had an accident on the beach.

In 2010, there was a security scare. Police pursued a driver who sped through a security checkpoint near the Obama's holiday home. Secret service agents helped stop him at gunpoint. The incident had nothing to do with the president's visit.

In 2012, Obama cut his vacation short after just four days. He rushed back to Washington to deal with fiscal threats that could have triggered deep spending cuts and sharp tax increases.

Then there was last year: A man flew his drone near the presidential motorcade. It was an accident and another incident to add to the Obama's Christmas list.

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