Hiroko Benko

Hiroko Benko came to the United States from Japan.

Hiroko is the president of the Condor Express, known to some as "the Commodore." She launched Condor Express Whale Watching in 2002 with her late husband, Captain Fred Benko. The enterprise built the vessel without propellers to protect marine wildlife.

She brings a wealth of knowledge in many fields - foreign service, international relations, administration and management. She has worked around the world: Tokyo, Sweden, Beverly Hills, and Santa Barbara. Hiroko's focus is too continually improve the Condor Express experience and to seek exciting and new charter cruise experiences.

Hiroko recently joined the Santa Barbara Channel Whale Heritage Areas as co-chair. The organization is comprised of a group of whale enthusiasts: whale watching tour operators; naturalists; biologists; fishers; educators; museum directors; resource managers; ocean-friendly restaurants; artists; NGO’s all working together to heighten the awareness of the abundance and diversity of whales in the Santa Barbara Channel.

She has served on the board of Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.

Hiroko enjoys time with her family in both Santa Barbara and Japan; she loves to travel, attend concerts, gardening, walking, and good food.