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Obama and family have Hanauma to themselves


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POSTED: Wednesday, December 30, 2009

President Barack Obama picked the perfect day to go snorkeling at Hanauma Bay.

The popular tourist attraction is closed Tuesdays to allow the fragile ecosystem to recover from a busy week of visitors.

That means the president and his family had the bay all to themselves yesterday, and no one was inconvenienced by Secret Service members doing their jobs.

Even the White House press pool was not allowed into the bay while the first family was there.

Obama arrived at the bay at about 12:20 p.m. after his motorcade traveled through Waimanalo and along the scenic Ka Iwi coastline.

He met his family there, as they had gone separately. Media were told the president and his family were going to picnic and snorkel.

They were joined by family friends who are traveling with them.

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The Honolulu Police Department is devoting a lot of manpower to help the Secret Service with security while President Obama vacations in the islands.

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After 2 1/2 hours, the president and his family headed back to their rented beachfront home in Kailua, traveling again along the Ka Iwi coast and through Waimanalo.

Along the way, dozens stood alongside the road to wave.

Obama did not stop at Sandy Beach, where he went bodysurfing in August 2008. In a radio interview earlier this month, he said the Secret Service does not like him doing that.

The president began his day with a workout at the Semper Fit gym at the Kaneohe Marine base, something he has done every morning since his arrival on Christmas Eve.

For the second day in a row, he spoke to reporters about the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day.