A U.K. couple is trying to stomach the fact that whale vomit may have just made them rich.
Gary and Angela Williams were walking on Middleton Sands beach in the U.K. earlier this week when they came across what appeared to be a rock that reeked of rotting fish. But this was no ordinary rock, it was actually ambergris, or “whale vomit”, which is highly valuable and used in perfumes to make the scents last longer.
Because the pair had read about the high value of ambergris in a newspaper, they wrapped up the stinky lump and took it home.
“It was down a section of the beach where no-one really walks,” Gary told The Mirror. “It smells too bad though. It’s a very distinctive smell, like a cross between squid and farmyard manure.”
Once they got home, Gary immediately weighed the ambergris on a scale, and found it came in at 1.57kg–about half the weight of another lump of whale vomit that was recently sold for just shy of $220,000 (CAD) in Morecambe.
Seeing dollar signs, the couple reached out to experts and they are now in negotiations with potential buyers.
Ambergris, for the record, is essentially a slurry that is stored in the bile duct of sperm whales and is thought to protect the animals if they accidentally consume sharp objects. It’s been dubbed “floating gold” and can wander the ocean for years before washing ashore.
It’s just too bad human vomit doesn’t exactly carry the same value.