Having A Whale Of A Time While Treasure Hunting


When research pays

Gary and Angela Williams of Overton, Lancashire were taking their usual stroll along Middleton Sands beach near Morecambe Bay when they spotted something very unusual sticking out from sand; a stinking, grey lump the size of a rugby ball. What they had discovered was a substance called ambergris. It's a substance which is secreted from a sperm whale's intestines. It's said the foul-smelling stuff is produced to help the whale pass any sharp or difficult objects it may have ingested. Ambergris has a waxy feel and appearance and because of its highly offensive odour, most people would have walked straight past it. The couple had read a news article about ambergris at some stage and remembered reading that in some countries, it is highly sought after and could fetch a princely sum. The couple then set about researching the article and discovered the 1.57kg lump they were in possession of could earn them up to £50,000. In 1986, the International Whaling Commission put a ban on commercial whaling so the couple were unsure about whether they could sell it or not. Although ambergris doesn't have to be taken out of dead whales, countries like Australia and the US still feel very strongly about the sale of any whale parts, even if they are passed naturally as is the case with ambergris. Nonetheless, it's reported that Gary and Angela Williams are in negotiations with potential buyers who come from France and New Zealand. The couple are eager to sell the substance as they have plans to buy a new caravan. It just goes to show, how an innocent ramble can turn up nature's hidden treasures, without any invasive action being taken by a human being. When we treat our world with the same respect as our fellow man, it gifts us back.
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