Beach scavenger finds lump of WHALE VOMIT worth ‘£500,000’ as he searched for recyclable rubbish to sell

A BEACH scavenger reckons he will have the last barf after finding a huge lump of WHALE VOMIT worth a potential £500,000.

Surachet Chanchu was combing the sands in southern Thailand looking for recyclable waste when he spotted the 37lb chunk.

He believes it is ambergris which forms in the digestive tracts of the marine giants and is highly treasured by the perfume industry.

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 – also known as floating gold.

Based on previous sale prices, the best quality ambergris can sell for as much as £14,500 for a one pound lump.

That would value Surachet's incredible find at around £530,000 if it turns out to be the real deal.

The average yearly wage in Thailand is £6,000 which means the find could prove genuinely life changing.

What is Ambergris and why is it called floating gold?

  • Ambergris is a solid, flammable substance, usually grey or black in colour, produced in the disgestive system of sperm whales.
  • It can often be found floating on the sea or washed up on the coast after it has oxidised, becoming hard.
  • The vomit initially has a marine, stinky odour, but goes on to acquire a sweet, earthy scent as it ages.
  • Ambergris was used by the Ancient Egyptians as incense, while in modern Egypt it's used for scenting cigratetes.
  • Perfume makers such as Chanel have for centuries used the 'floating gold' to make fragrances last and help them bind to skin.

Surachet is now waiting for government experts to check his find, which was made on a beach in  Songkhla.

The shocked beachcomber 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."

Experts says lumps sometimes float in the ocean for more than 100 years after they are formed in the bile duct 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 region after a two pound chunk was found on Friday.

In October, fisherman Jumrus Thiachot, 55, found a 14 lb chunk while walking along the beach in Koh Samui also in southern Thailand.

In April 2016, an ambergris ball found in Lancashire sold for £50,000 and months later three Omani fishermen sold a huge lump for more than £2m.

Ambergris has a sweet, lingering, fragrance, with a subtle blend of wet, marine, musky and animal notes, moss, leather and tobacco.

However, when fresh, it emits a strong, unpleasant faecal odour similar to cow dung or horse dung.

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