To be honest, we don't know what whale vomit looks like.

Even if we find one, we'll probably think that it's just a piece of rock and throw it back in the ocean.

Thankfully, a woman in Terengganu didn't do that, because now she got a valuable piece of item on her hands.

A shocking discovery

Aida Zurina Long was surprised to find out that a huge chunk of 'rock' she fished up and thought was garbage at first turned out to be whale vomit.

According to New Straits Times, she recently stumbled upon the item while fishing with her family near the Malaysian Fisheries Development Board jetty in Marang.

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The 41-year-old said she found the whale puke floating in the ocean at about 11pm at night. She then proceeded to pull it ashore using a stick.

Thinking that it was just a chunk of rubbish, Aida left the piece of whale vomit at the jetty.

When she went back to the place the next day and noticed that it was still there, she decided to bring it back home with her.

That was when her father, who works as a fisherman, told her that what she brought home is extremely rare and extremely valuable.

"At first, I thought it was garbage. Just imagine my surprise when my father told me that he believed it was a chunk of whale vomit," Aida was quoted as saying.

Image credit: Kosmo!

She told the news portal that her father then tried to burn a tiny portion of the object, and "it began to melt like candle and emitted a pleasant smell".

After that, she conducted more research on the internet and found that what she has in her possession is a much sought-after item.

Aida told NST that she's willing to work with interested parties to conduct a test on the object to validate and determine its quality.

"I know the cost involved to conduct lab tests will be expensive, thus I will cooperate (with any interested parties) to gauge its authenticity,” she was quoted as saying.

Why is whale vomit so valuable?

Whale vomit, also known as ambergris, is a solid, waxy and flammable substance of a dull grey or blackish colour produced in the digestive system of sperm whales.

It is formed when a sperm whale vomits out the substance, and its bile floats along the ocean until it washes up on shore as a hardened chunk, like the one Aida found.

Freshly-produced ambergris doesn't smell very nice, but it acquires a sweet, earthy scent as it ages. According to researchers, the longer it floats around in the sea, the better quality it's thought to be.

Image credit: Animal Hype

That is why whale vomit is extremely valuable in the perfume industry, as its properties enable perfume makers to use it as a fixative to help the scents last longer.

In June 2021, a group of fishermen found a piece of ambergris weighing 127kg, and it is valued at a whopping USD1.5 million (RM6.34 million)!

So yes, Aida indeed has a piece of treasure in her possession.