Somerset

'Whale vomit' found on Weston-super-Mare coast

Alan Derrick and his rock
Image caption Alan Derrick said he is "99%" sure the rock is ambergris and has listed it on eBay for £65,000

A father and son have found a wax-like rock they believe to be highly-valued whale vomit.

Alan Derrick and son Tom made the discovery on Sunday while walking along a stretch of Weston-super-Mare coastline.

Used in the manufacture of perfume, ambergris is commonly called 'floating gold' due to its rarity.

The substance, which smells like rotting fish, is found in the digestive system of sperm whales.

Alan and Tom, from Somerset, spotted the 1.19kg (2.6lb) rock while out searching for fishing tackle.

Listed on eBay

Alan said: "Tom came over with it and said 'what do you think this is?' I said if it's what I think it is, guard it with your life."

They have since safely stored it while they await the results of samples they have sent to experts in France and New Zealand.

In the meantime, they have listed the lump on internet auction site eBay with a starting price of £65,000.

"We did the tests and everything was right," said Alan. "I'm 99% sure it could be worth quite a bit of money."

A 1.1kg (2.4lb) lump of whale vomit found by a dog walker on an Anglesey beach sold at auction for £11,000 in 2015.

The substance takes years to form and is thought to protect the animal from the hard and sharp objects it eats.

It can float in the ocean for years before washing ashore.

Image copyright Alan Derrick
Image caption Alan Derrick found the substance on the beach in Weston-super-Mare on Sunday

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