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Fisherman finds chunk of whale vomit and becomes ‘overnight millionaire’
December 1, 2020
A fisherman living a hand-to-mouth existence has become an overnight millionaire after discovering a blob of whale vomit washed up on a beach.
Sixty-year-old Naris Suwannasang found it in Nakhon Si Thammarat, southern Thailand, after spotting several greyish blobs of a jelly like substance on a beach near his home.
The rare substance, ambergris, is produced in the guts of sperm whales.
While a synthetic version has been devised the real thing is still highly prized by perfumers who use it to prolong and deepen scents.
Naris called a couple of his cousins who helped him haul the weird-smelling substance home.
Naris suspected he might have found a chunk of ambergris and after he tested it by setting light to a small piece he was certain.
What he didn’t realise at the time was that his find was the biggest on record – a piece of ambergris worth some £2.4 million.
Naris told reporters: “I plan to go to the police and have them record my discovery as I fear [it] might be stolen from my house.”
He says he has already been contacted by a local entrepreneur who had provisionally offered him 960,000 Thai baht – (about £24,000) per kilogram for his record-breaking lump of whale vomit.
Naris currently earns the equivalent of around £500 a month.
He’s now waiting to find out of the ambergris is sufficiently high-grade to command the best price: “The businessman told me that he will come to check the quality of the ambergris later and the price shocked me,” he told reporters.
“I could receive around 960,000 [Baht] per kilogram if the ambergris I found is the best grade.”
In April 2016, a 1.57 kilogram blob of ambergris found near Morecambe Bay in Lancashire was sold for £50,000
Gary Williams, who found that piece, told The Mirror :"It smells too bad… 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.”
He added: “If it is worth a lot of money, it will go a long way towards buying us a static caravan. It would be a dream come true.”