Three Omani sailors who were exploring the waters at the end of last month found something they weren’t expecting to find: clumps of floating sperm whale vomit. At first this doesn’t sound very appealing, but sperm whale vomit –– also known as ambergris –– is worth a ton of money.
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Ambergris looks a lot like a clump of fecal matter, and in many cases, it smells like it too. On the other hand, it tends to smell a lot better over time, eventually smelling “earthy,” as some call it.
Image Credit: Peter Kaminski/Flickr via Wikipedia
It can take various kinds of shapes and sizes, but because it’s worth so much, larger clumps are highly sought after. It gets produced in the sperm whale’s intestines, but after it’s expelled from the body, it tends to harden and float, often making its way to shores where it’s collected.
Ambergris has properties that are valuable to perfume makers, supposedly allowing a perfume’s scent to last longer. On the other hand, due to its rarity, it has been replaced largely in the industry by a synthetic alternative known as Abroxide.
For these three sailors, they had reportedly discovered enough Ambergris that the appraisal totaled a whopping $2.5 million. Split three ways, that’s still enough to turn someone’s life around.
“We used a rope to collect it and carry it inside the boat,” one of the sailors said in a statement to the Times of Oman. “I was told earlier that ambergris has an icky smell, but after a couple of days it imparts a pleasant scent. We rushed back to the beach with joy and happiness. After we made sure it was ambergris, we started cutting it in order to dry and sell it later.”
Businessmen from all around the region have are said to have started making offers for the clumps of ambergris already. The sailors will sit on it for a little while longer until the best offer is determined.
Source: Times of Oman via NDTV