BBC News: Whale ‘vomit’ sparks cash bonanza.
An Australian couple who picked up an odd-looking fatty lump from a quiet beach are in line for a cash windfall. Leon Wright and his wife took home a 14.75kg lump of ambergris, found in the innards of sperm whales and used in perfumes after it has been vomited up. Long lusted-after due to its rarity, ambergris can float upon the oceans for years before washing ashore on beaches. Worth up to $20 a gram, Mr Wright’s find on a South Australian beach could net his family US$295,000 (Â£165,300). At first, Mr Wright and his wife Loralee left the strange lump on the beach where it was found. However, two weeks later the couple returned to Streaky Bay and found it still lying there.
Initially, ambergris is a soft, foul-smelling waste matter that floats on the ocean. But years of exposure to the sun and the salt water of the ocean transform the waste into a smooth, exotic lump of compact rock that boasts a waxy feel and a sweet, alluring smell.
Ironic that old whale barf is used as a component of perfume.