Overton, Lancashire residents Gary and Angela Williams were walking along Middleton Sands beach close to Morecambe Bay when an unusually large rock caught their attention. Other have probably passed by the object before, but no one believed it was anything special. Luckily, the Williams decided to inspect it and it turned out to be the best decision they’ve ever made.
Looking at the “rock,” and judging from its distinguishing smell which resembled that of rotting fish, the couple knew they stumbled upon fortune.
What they actually found was ambergris, or ‘whale vomit,’ a valuable ingredient in the perfume making industry. Having read about the value these “rocks” can reach, they were aware it was their lucky day.
What in fact is ambergris? “When sperm whales swallow sharp objects – such as the horny beaks of squid, which are their usual food – their intestines secrete a sticky substance that envelops these sharp debris so as not to injure the intestinal mucosa. Over time, these residues agglomerate in the form of lumps of various sizes, which are removed either with feces or regurgitated. Under the influence of the sun and the seawater, this mixture turns into a hard matter, with a specific aromatic smell.”
Gary, who is an engineer, described his and his wife’s find as ‘a bit of a shock’ and added, “It smells too 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.”
Gary also said that in case it is sold for a nice amount of money, they would be closer to making their dream of buying a static caravan true.
The value of Garry and Angela’s found, which weighs 1.5 kg, is approximately $70,000.
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