A schoolboy has stumbled across a rare piece of whale vomit which could be worth £40,000. Officially called ambergris, the substance is highly sought after and is used to prolong the scent of perfume. Eight-year-old Charlie Naysmith made the discovery at Hengistbury Head near Bournemouth in Dorset, much to the amazement of his parents.
His find doesn’t look very exciting and most people would probably walk straight past it, mistaking it for a stone. But Charlie was curious enough to pick it up and, after a bit of research, he and his family discovered it is worth between £10,000 and £40,000. Charlie, of Station Road, Christchurch, is a pupil of St Katharine’s school in Southbourne and has been on nature walks with his class in the area.
He is now trying to decide what to do with it and quite fancies using the profits to build a house for animals. His dad, Alex, said: “He is into nature and is really interested in it. We have discovered it is quite rare and are waiting for some more information from marine biology experts.” The piece of ambergris, which weighs 600 grams, could have been floating in the sea for decades before being washed up on the beach.
The family has been told it is unlikely that more ambergris will be found in the same area. Ambergris is a waxy substance from the intestines of a sperm whale, which is used to prolong the scent of perfume. It initially has a foul smell but after years of floating on the ocean, exposure to sun and salt turn it into a smooth lump of compact rock which feels waxy and has a sweet smell.