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Dad finds potential ‘whale vomit’ worth thousands on Bude beach

By e_glanfield  |  Posted: February 08, 2013

  • Stephen Harwood with the unusual objects, which could be ambergris, which he found on Summerleaze beach in Bude

  • The waxy objects, which could be whale vomit, which were discovered by Mr Harwood on Summerleaze beach in Bude in December

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An out-of-work dad has found a lump of what is believed to be whale vomit which could be worth thousands of pounds on a beach.

Stephen Harwood, 54, was walking along Summerleaze Beach in Bude just before Christmas when he picked up the unusual object and took it home.

He didn’t realise what it was until several weeks later when his wife heard on the radio about a similar discovery made by Ken Wilman on a Morecombe beach.

Mr Hardwood, who has lived in Bude for the last 16 months, said he made the discovery at high tide following a spate of bad weather in December.

He said: “I had a bit of a headache so thought I’d pop out for a bit of a walk and a bit of fresh air and it was only as I was walking along the beach that I spotted what looked like an unusual object.

“I didn’t know what it was so I picked it up and took it home. I didn’t think any more about it until my wife heard on the radio about the man from Morecombe who found whale vomit worth £100,000.

“I got mine out and started looking it up on the internet to try and see if I could get it tested.”

Mr Harwood is yet to have it tested and is hoping an expert will come forward and verify the object for him.

“If it is this rare ambergris stuff that is known as whale vomit then it could be worth a few bob. It’s just so rare to find something like this and even rarer I imagine to find it on a beach in Bude.”

Mr Harwood found two lumps of the potential valuable substance which in total weigh 200grams. One is a white colour while the other is amber -coloured, which he says is typical of ambergris.

He said: “It looks like a rock but when you touch it it’s waxy. I think it might be quite fresh because I did some research and apparently ambergris goes black after quite a while in the sea.

“My daughter picked up a similar looking object last year but threw it away because she didn’t know what it was.

“It would just be nice if someone could confirm what it actually is.”

Ambergris is a solid, waxy, flammable substance which is produced by sperm whales. It is a rare commodity used in perfume and as a result is extremely valuable.

Can you help identify the object? Call us on 01271 347432 or email emma.glanfield@localworld.co.uk

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  • shagrats  |  February 11 2013, 8:47AM

    A mate of mine delas in this. I have sent him on the report.

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