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A Sanibel Christmas tree

By Staff | Dec 20, 2017

Sanibel resident Rusty Farst decorated his Christmas tree with 21 junonia shells. PHOTO PROVIDED

After 36 years on the island, one Sanibel resident created a true island Christmas tree with 21 junonia shells.

“After 36 years on Sanibel and not ever finding one in the surf, I found three offshore on Garden Reef, Sanibel, scuba diving 45 feet deep, lying in the sand beside an octopus den after he consumed the mollusk and discarded the shells,” Rusty Farst said of the junonia shell.

The Christmas tree was purchased from the Sanibel Captiva Lions Club and the lights from Bailey’s General Store.

“The white fossil junonia I found recently excavating a driveway down on the Lighthouse end of the island. It is very old. A few of the shells were given to me by friends and neighbors who love me. I purchased the rest of the treasured shells from Mikey at the shell shop, She Sells Sea Shells,” he said.

Farst decided to create a “nautical, but nice” Christmas tree because junonia shells are magical, “like a crystal to anyone who holds them.”

“They have the power to heal when given as a gift. The finder never forgets the day the sea presents them with this precious and rare gift from the sea,” he said. “I wanted to make this as much an island tree as I could.”