Beach scavenger finds lump of 'whale vomit' which could be worth half a million pounds

Beach scavenger found a 37 lbs waxy lump that he believes is valuable whale vomit worth more than half-a-million pounds.

Surachet Chanchu was walking along the sand in Songkhla, southern Thailand, looking for recyclable waste when he noticed the grey chunk washed ashore on Wednesday (December 11) morning.

He was struck by its likeness to valuable ambergris, formed in the digestive tracts of whales and a sought-after ingredient in the perfume industry.

Surachet carried the lump back to his home and friends came round to perform a simple test by holding a cigarette lighter to the substance. It then melted and gave off a pleasant, musky smell, indicating that it is likely to be prized ambergris.

Based on previous sale prices, the best quality ambergris can sell for as much as 14,500GBP for a 1 lb lump. That would value Surachet's find at around 536,500GBP if its is proven to be ambergris and of a high quality.

Surachet is now waiting for government officers to check his find. He said: "I saw the chunk washed ashore at the coastal rock when I was scavenging.

"I thought it looked like a whale vomit but I need someone who knows about it to come down and check but I do not know who should I contact as well."

Experts says that lumps of ambergris can sometimes float in the ocean for more than 100 years after it is formed from a secretion of the bile duct in the intestines of the sperm whale. The liquid then solidifies in the ocean and matures over many years.

This is the second time in a week that locals found the chunk that looks like whale vomit in the district after 2 lbs chunk was found last Friday (06/12).

In October, fisherman Jumrus Thiachot, 55, found a 14 lbs piece of ambergris while he was walking along the beach in Koh Samui also in southern Thailand.

In April 2016, a 1.57 kilogram ambergris ball found in Lancashire sold for GBP50,000 while in November of the same year, three Omani fishermen found 80 kilograms of ambergris and sold it for USD 3 million.

According to ambergris dot eu, mature ambergris has an ''unforgettable, unique aroma''.

They added: ''Ambergris has a sweet, lingering, fragrance, with a subtle blend of wet, marine, musky and animal notes, moss, leather and tobacco. When fresh, ambergris emits a strong, unpleasant faecal odor similar to cow dung or horse dung. After many years floating on the surface of the oceans in the sand currents, the nauseating fecal odor will dissipate to make room for the mystical 'ambre' characteristic fragrance, while keeping subtle animal notes.''