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Enough to make you sick with envy! Thai fisherman, 20, finds lump of whale vomit worth £210,000 

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Enough to make you sick with envy! Thai fisherman, 20, finds lump of whale vomit worth £210,000

  • Chalermchai Mahapan, 20, came across the 7kg lump while docking his boat
  • His lucky find at Samila Beach, Songkhla could earn him as much as £210,000 
  • Whale vomit, known as ambergris, is a sought-after ingredient in perfume
  • In 2016, a 1.57kg ball sold for £50,000 while later that year an 80kg haul went made three Omani fishermen more than £2,200million

A Thai fisherman has had an extremely lucky catch, finding a waxy lump that may be whale vomit worth as much as £210,000.

Chalermchai Mahapan, 20, came across the seven-kilogram lump shortly after docking his boat at Samila Beach in the southern Songkhla province on January 6.

He said he had been out catching mullet when the weather suddenly changed and he was forced to return to shore early.

As he pushed his boat to dock, Chalermchai said he noticed a white lump in the sand that was being pushed by currents towards the beach. 

At first, the fisherman thought it was just an ordinary rock but after taking a closer look, he suspected it might be something of value.

Chalermchai took the mysterious mass home to try and figure out what it might be. 

Chalermchai said he had been out catching mullet when the weather suddenly changed and he was forced to return to shore early. As he pushed his boat to dock, he said he noticed a white lump in the sand that was being pushed by currents towards the beach

Chalermchai said he had been out catching mullet when the weather suddenly changed and he was forced to return to shore early. As he pushed his boat to dock, he said he noticed a white lump in the sand that was being pushed by currents towards the beach

Chalermchai took the mysterious mass home to try and figure out what it might be and village elders suggested it could be whale vomit, known as ambergris

Chalermchai took the mysterious mass home to try and figure out what it might be and village elders suggested it could be whale vomit, known as ambergris

‘I had no idea what this thing was until I asked the elderly villagers here who informed me about ambergris,’ he said, referring to the substance which forms from a secretion of the bile duct in the intestines of sperm whales. 

It can be found floating in the sea or washed up along shorelines. Sometimes, it is also present in the abdomens of the whales themselves. 

Burning pieces of the lump on a spoon seemed to confirm that the substance was indeed ambergris as it quickly melted.  

A sample was sent to a lab where it was confirmed to be genuine. 

‘I feel very lucky to have found it,’ Chalermchai said. 

Ambergris forms from a secretion of the bile duct in the intestines of sperm whales. It can be found floating in the sea or washed up along shorelines. Sometimes, it is also present in the abdomens of the whales themselves

Ambergris forms from a secretion of the bile duct in the intestines of sperm whales. It can be found floating in the sea or washed up along shorelines. Sometimes, it is also present in the abdomens of the whales themselves

The young fisherman (second from the left) is now waiting for a buyer at a price of 1,00,000 Thai baht (£24,500) per kg

The young fisherman (second from the left) is now waiting for a buyer at a price of 1,00,000 Thai baht (£24,500) per kg

The young fisherman is now waiting for a buyer at a price of 1,00,000 Thai baht (£24,500) per kg. 

‘I’m not in a hurry to sell this,’ he said. ‘An agent will find an international buyer for it’. 

Ambergris has a foul smell at first but after drying out, it develops a sweet and long-lasting fragrance, which makes it a sought-after ingredient in the perfume industry. 

In April 2016, a 1.57-kg ambergris ball found in Lancashire sold for £50,000 while in November of that same year, three Omani fishermen found 80kg of the substance and sold it for $3million (£2,205,942).  

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