Sunday 17 April 2016

UK couple discovers $70,000 chunk of whale vomit

APRIL 14, 2016

by Chuck Bednar

Typically, when a husband and wife encounter vomit, they’re far from excited – but when said vomit comes from a whale, making it worth up to $70,000 (£50,000) due to its rarity and desirability as an ingredient in perfumes (that’s a different story entirely).

According to The Guardian and the International Business Times, Lancashire natives Gary and Angela Williams were walking along Middleton Sands beach when they picked up the pungent scent of rotting fish. Rather than turning around and heading for more pleasant-smelling pastures, they chose to follow the odor and found a grey-colored lump about the size of a rugby ball.

They had read about whale vomit, also known as ambergris, in their local newspaper and decided to wrap the object up in a scarf and take it home. Perfume makers use ambergris in their products to try to make scents last longer, but the substance is very rare, and thus can be quite valuable. In this case, the 1.57 kg lump found by the couple could net them well over $70,000.

“It was a bit of a shock,” Gary Williams told the Daily Mirror. “It was down a section of the beach where no one really walks. It smells bad though. It’s a very distinctive smell, like a cross between squid and farmyard manure. It feels like a rock hard rubber ball. Its texture is like wax, like a candle. When you touch it you get wax sticking to your fingers.”

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