• Murhaf Radi, Europe Editor

A PENNILESS fisherman has stumbled on possibly the world's biggest blob of rare whale vomit

A PENNILESS fisherman has stumbled on possibly the world's biggest blob of rare whale vomit - worth an astonishing £2.4million.



Ambergris is dubbed a sea treasure and floating gold, as an odourless alcohol is extracted to make a perfume's scent last longer.


Naris Suwannasang, 60, was walking by the sea when he noticed several rock-like pale lumps washed up on a beach in Nakhon Si Thammarat, southern Thailand.


He called his cousins to help him take the mysterious masses home, where they started prodding and poking them, on November 23.


The large 'rocks' appeared to resemble highly prized ambergris, a rare secretion from whales.


It is a valuable ingredient used in perfumes such as Chanel No5.


The family tested the surface by burning it with a lighter, causing it to melt instantly.


Naris said the blobs weighed 220lb - or 100kg - potentially making it one of the biggest-ever finds of whale vomit.


He also told local media that he's been contacted by a keen businessman who is willing to fork out 960,000 Thai baht (£23,740) per kilo if the ambergris is high quality.


That would land Naris a cool 96,000,000 Thai baht - about £2.4 million.


Even a fraction of the sum would far surpass his meagre earnings from fishing of around £500 a month.


Naris now has an anxious wait for specialists to confirm whether the material found is ambergris.


He said: ''I want to know more about this ambergris and want the specialist to inspect them.


"I also plan to go to the police and have them record my discovery as I fear they might be stolen from my house."


Ambrein, an odourless alcohol, is extracted from ambergris and used to make a perfume's scent last longer, particularly the more expensive scents.


It comes from sperm whales, which eat large quantities of cephalopods such as squid and cuttlefish.



Some believe that the whale spews up the mass, earning it its well-known nickname 'whale vomit'.


But Richard Sabin, curator of marine mammals at the Natural History Museum, believes that "ambergris forms in the intestines and passes along with faecal matter, forming an obstruction in the rectum".


SMELLS LIKE 'MANURE'

When removed from the whale, it has been described as possessing a strong faecal smell described as “a cross between squid and farmyard manure”.


But the scent is said to be more pleasant once the mass dries out. At this stage it is often described as musky.


A 200lb lump was sold several years ago for a whopping £1million.


Four years ago, a dad and son who found a ''smelly, rubbery'' rock on the beach in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, put it up for sale for £65,000.


And last year, in southern Thailand, Surachet Chanchu was combing the sands looking for recyclable waste when he spotted a 37lb chunk of the whale spew.


Surachet carried it back to his home and friends then performed a simple test by holding a cigarette lighter to the bizarre substance.


It quickly melted and gave off a pleasant, musky smell, indicating that it is highly likely to be ambergris.

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