November 26, 2020

Obama hits popular snorkeling spot during vacation

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President Barack Obama holds hands with his daughters Malia, left, and Sasha, right, as they leave Sea Life Park, a marine wildlife park, with family friends, Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2011, in Waimanalo, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

HONOLULU (AP) — President Barack Obama and his family spent a warm and sunny afternoon at one of the most popular snorkeling spots on the island of Oahu, where they released four green sea turtles into the water.

The Obamas arrived at Hanauma Bay Park on Tuesday after a scenic, 40-minute drive from their multimillion-dollar rented vacation home on Kailua Beach. The park is a favorite destination for the Obamas, who make an annual trip there during their Christmas holiday in Hawaii — always on Tuesdays, when the park is closed to the public for maintenance.

This year, the president and his family released four green sea turtles into the bay’s clear blue water. The 18-month-old turtles were born at Sea Life Park, a nearby marine sanctuary and aquarium that boasts of being the only place in the U.S. that raises green sea turtles in captivity.

The president and his daughters, Malia and Sasha, enjoyed their turtle experience so much that they decided to make a stop at Sea Life Park later in the day. The president appeared briefly before cameras as he left the park, climbed into a waiting SUV and headed back to his vacation rental.

The president has stayed largely out of the spotlight since arriving Friday evening in Hawaii, the state where he was born and mostly raised.

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