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Obamas leave with alohas from Ige, Hirono, Caldwell

  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM
    President Barack Obama, right, flashes a shaka with First Lady Michelle Obama prior to departing aboard Air Force One on Saturday at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam.
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President Barack Obama and family left Honolulu Saturday evening following a two-week vacation.

The Obamas arrived at the tarmac around 9:30 p.m. Daughters Sasha and Malia quickly boarded the plane while the president and first lady spent several minutes shaking hands and chatting with some 100 U.S. service personnel and their families.

Also on hand to bid the family farewell were U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, Gov. David Ige and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

The Obamas departed aboard Air Force 1 from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam at 9:41 p.m.

The first family has spent each of Obama’s seven Christmas vacations as president at luxury beachside rentals in a secluded Kaneohe neighborhood. 

The final day of the Obamas’ 15-day Christmas vacation was among the family’s busiest.

The day began with a final visit to Bellows Air Force Station beach from 11 a.m. to just after noon.

A few hours later, Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia visited the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl, where Obama’s maternal grandfather, Stanley Armour Dunham, is buried. 

Dunham and his wife, Madelyn, helped raise Obama during his childhood years in Honolulu.

After leaving the cemetery, the family rode past Punahou School, Obama’s alma mater, on the way to Manoa, where they visited briefly with Obama’s sister Maya Soetoro-Ng.

Heading back to the Windward side, Obama and his daughters stopped to visit with Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder and his family in Kailua.

They returned to the Kailua house at 4:53 p.m. and left for Buzz’s Original Steakhouse in Lanikai at 6:35 p.m.

They had dinner there with friends, according to the White House, then left for Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

An active vacationer, Obama took advantage of his break from wintry Washington to indulge in a variety of outdoor pursuits. The president went golfing nine times, often with Punahou pals Mike Ramos, Bobby Titcomb and Greg Orme. 

He and his family also visited the beach at Bellows five times, hiked the Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail, and spent New Year’s Day snorkeling at Hanauma Bay.

While the Obamas did not have any scheduled public appearances, the president and first lady did visit Marine Corps Base Hawaii on Christmas Day to chat with service members and their families. 

They also drew the attention of camera-wielding crowds while dining at Morimoto Waikiki, Alan Wong’s Restaurant and Nobu Waikiki.

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