This Fishermen Find $1.5M Worth of Ambergris. You can see footage of the fishermen finding the whale carcass in the video below.

What is $1.5 million divided 35 ways? Still a lot of cash. A group of 35 fishermen from al-Khaisah were told about a whale carcass drifting in the Gulf of Aden in Yemen. They raised their boats to get a better look, at which moment they detected a distinct odor in the air. They towed the whale carcass to shore, and when they split it open, a massive amount of ambergris was exposed, quickly making them wealthy.

gulf of aden shoreline Yemen

Ambergris has been referred to as whale vomit, however unlike what you or I might throw up, whales go through an entirely other process, with the end result resembling excrement rather than vomit. Ambergris is created by sperm whales as a defensive strategy against squid beaks and other hard objects that they may consume. Squids are an important part of the diet of sperm whales.

However, once within the whale’s stomach, the squid’s harsh beaks might irritate the digestive tract. The whale’s body creates a thick, waxy substance that protects the beaks safely. The whales subsequently dump or vomit the squid beak and ambergris ball. It is thought that less than 5% of whale carcasses contain ambergris.

The hue, consistency, and scent of ambergris can all vary. However, ambergris that has been aged under ideal conditions will no longer emit a nasty stench, instead emitting a lovely aroma that has captivated mankind for generations. Not only is ambergris a sought-after ingredient in perfumes, but it was also historically employed in medicine.

18th century whaling ships

Lozenges containing musk and ambergris were made by pharmacies and healers and were supposed to be cleansing for the heart and lungs.Since most of the world no longer allows whaling, the commerce for all things whale-related has declined since the heyday of whaling ships in the 18th and 19th centuries. However, many people still find ambergris floating in the ocean, or in this example, inside the body of a whale that has been dead for an unknown amount of time.

Collecting and selling ambergris that has washed ashore (or in this case, inside a carcass) is permitted in some countries but not in others. In the 2010s, a synthetic version of ambergris called Ambroxan was made utilizing plants, essentially displacing the real thing in perfumery. However, traditional perfumers around the world continue to employ ambergris in their formulas due to its status and the intense and long-lasting aroma it produces.

It is also regarded a scientific curiosity because each ambergris stone can be made up of many sharp meals such as seashells, squid, or other animal parts.Ambergris is extremely valuable due to its scarcity. When the 35 Yemeni fishermen sliced open the whale, it felt like a blessing because such a valuable commodity may change the life of a modest fisherman.\

chunk of ambergris from the Skagway Museum

Yemen is one of the world’s poorest countries, and it has been embroiled in a civil conflict since 2014. Because up to 80% of the population is food insecure, even a nice catch of fish would have been a godsend. One fisherman said he “felt so happy” after finding the whale, and another said, “If you find whale ambergris, it’s a treasure.” They discovered 127 kilograms of ambergris within the whale, which sells for tens of thousands of dollars per kilo.

fisherman in gulf of Aden

The fisherman can now afford to buy houses, automobiles, and better boats, as well as give freely to the poor. Despite their success, many of them continue to fish. “I have to keep going to sea, even if I don’t get anything,” one fisherman said. It runs in my family.” The fishermen discovering the whale carcass can be seen in the video below.

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