Three fishermen from Oman are expected to make millions of dollars after coming across a large deposit of ambergris, which is sometimes called whale vomit.
Khalid Al Sinani and two friends were fishing Oct. 30 when they discovered 176 pounds of the substance, the Times of Oman reported.
Ambergris is highly sought after in the fragrance industry, where it is used because it helps scents adhere to human skin.
It gets the nickname whale vomit because it is secreted from the intestines of sperm whales. The substance helps whales digest sharp objects they eat.
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The substance floats in the water and gradually hardens over time. Small amounts are often washed ashore.
“We used a rope to collect it and carry it inside the boat,” Al Sinani told the Times.
He added that ambergris initially smells bad, but later becomes sweeter.
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“After we made sure it was ambergris, we started cutting it in order to dry and sell it later,” he added.
After bringing it back to his house, Al Sinani contacted buyers for a price. Based on one offer from a Saudi buyer, the three men could split over $2 million.
“I’ll wait to see how this sale will go and later I’ll think of changing my career and enter the real-estate sector to live a better life,” said Al Sinani.
Al Sinani’s find is much larger than previous cases of ambergris discovery. In April, a couple in the U.K. found what they thought was a “rock” on a beach. Later they learned it was ambergris and that it was worth around $70,000, Mirror reported.
“It feels like a rock hard rubber ball. Its texture is like wax, like a candle,” Gary Williams told Mirror.
Williams added that when you pick up a piece of ambergris, wax sticks to your skin.
“It's a very distinctive smell, like a cross between squid and farmyard manure,” he said.
Ambergris is also referred to as “floating gold” due to its high value.