Turtle Quest

Maybe ten years ago when our grandkids were small we wanted to take them to see the turtle farm that is advertised as being near Beit Yanai and Nahal Alexander.  Since this is only a few miles up the coast from where we live in Netanya we drove there and found Nahal Alexander, a small stream named after Alexander the Great, who visited the area with his army a few thousand years ago, and apparently his visit was memorable.   We parked near the beach at the entrance of the stream into the Mediterranean Sea and walked along the tow path to a small farm, but they had no connection with turtles.  So we gave up and went home disappointed.

Now my son-in-law decided that we should try again, although the kids are now practically grown-up.  He called the number listed on the web-site, but could get no reply.  So we went there during the holiday.  First of all when you come off the main road, Beit Yannai is to the left (south), but the map on the web-site shows the turtle reserve is to the right.  So we turned right and made the same mistake as before and turned at the sign for Nahal Alexander.   But, this time we realized our mistake so went back on the road further north.

We passed the entrance to the village of Mikhmoret on our right and a few closed gates to Ruppin College on the left and reached Banana Beach, beyond which the road petered out.  But, the guy on the gate at Banana Beach knew nothing about turtles.  So we turned back and at Ruppin College there was a guard at the gate and we asked him about the turtle place and he said it was inside the College.  Of course, there were no signs whatsoever to indicate the location.  He would not let us drive into the College, so we had to enter next to the gate thru a small hidden entrance into a huge parting lot.  Honestly you would not have found it unless you knew it was there and it is nowhere near Beit Yannai or Nahal Alexander.

So we went into Ruppin College and walked for about 15 mins past classrooms and buildings that were all shut for the holiday.  Finally we found some people who said yes, the turtle place is further ahead, so we continued our walk and eventually found some tanks with turtles in them behind a wire fence enclosure.  We asked someone else and they said you could only visit the facility with a  guide and you have to phone ahead to arrange a visit.  Too bad!  So we looked around for a while and found some other open tanks with small turtles of different kinds in them.  The turtle facility saves injured turtles and nurses them back to health and also breeds turtles that are near extinction, such as the green turtle.

It is a mystery to me why such facilities in Israel make it so difficult to find them, no signs whatsoever, and also do not apparently welcome guests who have come a long way to find them.  Anyway we found the small harbor that the Ruppin College of Marine Biology uses and sat there on two benches (no tables) to eat our packed lunch and then went somewhere else for a nice tiyul (trip).

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3 thoughts on “Turtle Quest

  1. From your description, you did not actually find the ENORMOUS wild ancient turtles at Nachal Alexander. They are in the river and you look down at them and throw bread etc over the banks. I believe they are on Kfar Witkin lands.

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  2. We visited the turtle rescue facility once on a tiyul, I believe with AACI. Another time we parked near where the Nahal Alexander runs into the Mediterranean and walked a ways upstream, in what is supposedly an official park. Our rental car was broken into while we were walking….

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