By Rob Beschizza at 4:10 am Thu, Jan 31, 2013
Ambergris in Morecambe, England. [BBC]
A man from Morecambe believes his dog has found a rare piece of whale vomit while walking on the beach. ... Mr Wilman said: "When I picked it up and smelled it I put it back down again and I thought 'urgh'.
I read “Dog finds whale vomit delicious”.
This man’s quote is me, every morning, trying to find something to eat in the fridge.
ah, Ambergris… one of those wondrous super rare fabulous treasures of olden times…
I first learned about ambergris because it played a prominent role in an Encyclopedia Brown mystery. Thanks, Mr. Sobol!
I first learned about ambergris because it played a prominent role in Moby Dick. Thanks, Mr. Melville!
I first learned about ambergris because it played a prominent role in Moby Dick.
I had the same experience with homoerotic subtext.
I was sitting with my husband in a little cafe on the Oregon coast this September. The decor included several examples of whale vomit, which I thought was an odd choice of items for the customers to gaze at with their clam chowder. What were the owners thinking? Didn’t seem all that rare though…
While certainly super disgusting, ambergris isn’t actually whale vomit. It does originate in the whale’s digestive tract (to help them pass food), and it can be expelled along with fecal matter or through the mouth. (Poor things.) But! Strictly speaking, it’s neither puke, poop, bile, phlegm, ear wax, kidney stones, belly button lint, nor anything else humans tend to excrete. Still, though. Way gross.
Thanks. Just from having read Moby Dick, whale ‘vomit’ didn’t seem at all correct.
What? No lark’s vomit?
Oh yes it does, on the bottom of the box, after monosodium glutamate.
Too bad he didn’t roll in it; he would have been King Dog around the neighborhood for awhile.
Frequently I tell off commentators for commenting before reading a linked article, but this short description is too sweet to ruin with things like context.
I’ve heard of dogs returning to their own vomit, but this is obviously a more advanced dog.
I have a chunk of ambergris I purchased a few years ago for use in perfumery. It is amazing. Phenomenal, really. The most extraordinary smell, deep and luscious, but also clean in a sexy way. It smells like someone who just naturally smells great, right after they had sex on a beach. Every chunk is different, I’ve heard, but mine is lovely.
You have to be careful pickup stuff up off of the beach. ISTR that several people have received (relatively minor) burns pickup up what they thought was amber that had washed ashore from the Irish Sea that turned out instead to be chunks of mustard gas* dumped in the sea after the WWII.
*really a viscous liquid at room temperature.
Damnit, I wanted to post that.
Reminds me of this story about a whale-poop sniffing dog who is used by researchers to track the positions of orca. He can scent that poop from a remarkable distance, and guide the people driving the boat on which direction to go. Pretty cute. And gross.
I don’t want kids pokin it or eatin it or puttin it in their mouths…
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ambergris, dogs, smells, whales
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