Apparently you can get rich off of sperm whale vomit.
Sperm and vomit are two words that should never be used in the same sentence, but for the sake of this article it was unavoidable.
Within the stomach of sperm whales, and sperm whales only, exists a waxy, flammable substance called ambergris. It is also known as “floating gold” or “treasure of the sea” according to Insider. It’s a critical component of fine perfumes, and apparently makes the scent last longer.
Scientists contend that the rare substance is produced as a result of sperm whales unique diet. They eat mainly cephalopods, including squids and octopus, and they are unable to digest the sharp beaks of their prey. The mass of indigestible material combines with a secretion from the whales intestines to ultimately form ambergris.
In addition to making perfume more pungent, the substance also just made a 35 man fishing crew off the coast of Yemen a whole heck of a lot of money.
“The smell wasn’t very nice, but it was worth lots of money.”
While operating in the Gulf of Aden, the crew incidentally hauled in the carcass of a large sperm whale. While towing it back to shore, speculation built that the whale could have a large amount of ambergris built up inside of it due to its strong odor.
As they disassembled the whale, they struck it rich with a massive chunk of floating gold. The fishermen promptly sold off the 280-pound hunk of ambergris to a buyer from the United Arab Emirates and bought new houses, cars, and boats.
This is not the first time that some lucky fishermen made bank of whale puke though. In November of 2020, a fisherman in Thailand noticed what looked to be a yellow rock floating in the water. Though he didn’t know exactly what it was, he knew it was some sort of potentially valuable artifact.
After doing some digging around on google, he became optimistic that he had stumbled upon an extremely valuable chunk of ambergris. He took a lighter to the chunk and it began to melt like candle wax and emit a scent that confirmed his speculation.
He had found floating gold.
That particular hunk of vomit was high grade stuff too. He reportedly sold it for $3.3 million… I’m in the wrong business.