Eight year old Charlie Naysmith was walking down Hengistbury Head, on the southern coast of England when he found a rock-like, football sized chunk that in actuality is piece of “whale vomit” potentially worth as much as $63,000
What Charlie found is not a rock, but actually ambergris which is a bile-like material that is created in the innards of sperm whales. It’s purpose is to assist in the digestion of difficult foods (think, squids and bigger fish) and is expelled by the whales. While it is commonly referred to as vomit, it actually is dumped out the back end of the whale, so it’s really more like whale poop.
Ambergris, though, starts out smelling like what you’d think whale crap would smell like, but after a very long period of floating around, marinating in the ocean, hardening the odor changes into something more difficult to explain. But its an odor that so desired that ambergris is commonly referred to as “floating gold”. It is this scent that is used in all sorts of perfumes, incense, and in many cultures as an aphrodisiac.
The stuff sells for $10-$50 a gram, the chunk Charlie found weighs approximently 300 grams, putting its potential value at that $63,000 mark mentioned earlier.
It should be noted that because of the sperm whale’s protected status in the US, the use of ambergris in perfumes is illegal.
- Whale vomit chunk worth thousands (upi.com)
- Boy Finds ‘Gold’ in Whale Puke (snspost.com)
- Boy Finds Whale Vomit, Gets Rich: DNews Nugget (news.discovery.com)
- What’s Ambergris? Behind the $60k Whale-Waste Find (news.nationalgeographic.com)