Australian whale vomit find worth a fortune
SYDNEY (AFP) - A family on the south Australian coast found a piece of whale vomit on the beach that is tipped to be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, national radio reported.
The chunk of ambergris, which is sought after by perfume manufacturers, weighed 14.75 kilograms (32 pounds) and is worth about 20 US dollars per gram, ABC radio said -- making a total of 295,000 dollars.
Fisherman Leon Wright and his wife Loralee found the ambergris, which sperm whales are believed to vomit to rid their intestines of hard objects such as squid beaks, on a remote beach near Streaky Bay.
Loralee was reluctant to accept her husband's suggestion that they throw the mysterious, solid, fatty object into the back of her four-wheel-drive vehicle, so they left it there, said local marine expert Ken Jury.
Two weeks later, travelling in Leon's vehicle, they discovered that it was still there and took it home, Jury, who is advising the family, told AFP.
Ambergris, which floats after being vomited by the whales, is a rare find and has to a large extent been replaced in the fragrance industry by synthetics.