Yongyuth Limsuebcheu, a 66-year-old resident of Moo 4, Mai Khao, explained that he was jogging along the beach when he saw a large, round lump wash ashore in front of the Maikhao Dream Villa Resort & Spa.
Mr Yonguth went to inspect the object. Curious, he poked it, and found the lump to consist of an oily, honey-like substance that stuck to his finger.
“It was similar to the golden-yellow whale poop that I had seen on TV news,” Mr Yongtuth said.
He hurriedly brought the lump back to his home and studied it further, settling on his presumption that it was whale ambergris.
Ambergris comes in various colours: grey, black, yellow, orange and even a white marble colour. Ambergris forms as a secretion of the bile duct in sperm whale’s intestines, adn is discharged as fecal matter, leading many people for years to believe it was “whale poop”.
Considered a rarity to find, in Eastern cultures ambergris is used for medicines and potions and as a spice; in the West it was used to stabilise the scent of fine perfumes.
A large lump of ambergris found by fishermen in Oman in 2016 weighed some 80kg and was reportedly worth US$3 million.
Mr Yongyuth confirmed that the lump he has found weighed 19.5kg.
“If it is real sea amber or whale ambergris it will be worth up to B1.5 million per kilogram, representing the value for this lump of amber worth almost B30mn,” Mr Yongyuth noted.
Expert marine biologists from the Phuket Marine Biological Center (PMBC) have been notified of the find. They now have possession of the possibly very valuable lump and are examining it to confirm whether or not it is indeed ambergris.