By Jeff King
Here they come again.
President Barack Obama and the First Family left Washington D.C. Friday evening for their annual two-week Christmas vacation in Hawaii. Dogs, too.
The president, first lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Malia and Sasha, boarded Air Force One at a chilly Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland just before 6 p.m. EST (1 p.m.HST) for the roughly 10-hour flight to Oahu.
Air Force One is scheduled to touch down at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam at about 11 p.m. tonight.
“And now I’m going to go on vacation,” President Obama said at his last scheduled press conference of the year. “Mele Kalikimaka, everybody. Mahalo.”
As they have in the past, the Obamas are expected to stay for two weeks in Kailua, with no public events planned.
Christmas in Hawaii has been a family tradition for the Obamas since before he took office. However, since being elected the visits now bring occasional road closures for the president’s motorcade and intensive security in the Kailua beachfront neighborhood where the Obamas stay.
The Coast Guard is again enforcing a temporary security zone in waters off Kailua Bay during this visit. The security zone is in effect from 6 a.m. Thursday to 10 p.m. Jan. 5. It includes a portion of Kailua Bay, beginning at Kapoho Point and extending westward to the shoreline near Kailuana Loop. The zone also includes the adjacent canal beginning near Kapoho Point to a point extending the canal way to about 150 yards south of the North Kalaheo Avenue Road Bridge.
No person or vessel may enter the restricted zone without authorization. Violators are subject to penalties of up to $40,000 in fines and up to 10 years’ imprisonment.
The Coast Guard’s security efforts are being coordinating with the Honolulu Police Department, Marine Corps Base Hawaii and other federal, state, and county law enforcement agencies on patrols of the area under the direction of the Secret Service.
(The Associated Press contributed to this story)