“SOMEONE just won the lotto last night,” declared the social media post on the ‘rastasurfco’ Instagram page.
The popular page for 13th Beach surf reports posted a narrated video and details of the unusual discovery.
“This large lump of whale snot lobbed at 13th beach … ambergris is extremely rare and used to make expensive perfumes at 3.5 kilos it’s valued at around $180,000 give or take 10 grand, stinks pretty bad but apparently smells sweet after a few years … keep an eye out for smaller pieces along 13th and townies … it’s worth its weight in gold.”
Some social media users were quick to ask for more details while others flagged their sudden desire to go for a stroll along 13th Beach in the hope of a discovery of their own.
Others highlighted the fact that it was illegal to sell ambergris in Australia.
“It’s whale vomit actually and illegal to possess or sell in Australia if I’m not mistaken … be careful,” Instagram user Fam Charko commented.
“If it is ambergris (looks too smooth and uniform), it’s too fresh to be worth much, certainly not $180k” user Wonzaa wrote.
Mr Harrision said some people even contacted him and threatened to report him to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning if he attempted to sell it.
This reporter even put the story — albeit briefly — on his own story list before noticing the date at the top of the screen: April 1, 2021.
Rasta Surf Shop owner Ross Harrison said he put a lot of effort into the design and construction of the fibreglass April Fools’ Day fake and said it reflected his real desire to actually find some himself.
“I’ve never known anyone to find any ambergris, I’ve always been fascinated by it, when I walk along the beach I would sometimes think ‘whales migrate across here, imagine what it would be like to find some,’” Mr Harrison said.
In 2019 tour operator Peter Fullarton found two kilograms of ambergris valued at $70,000 off the coast of Western Australia, although he ultimately donated it to the WA museum when he discovered he couldn’t sell it legally.
It’s not the first time Mr Harrison has played an April Fools’ Day prank.
Previously he has had April Fools’ fun with other discoveries including a ‘giant squid’ and a World War 2 army tank off The Bluff that could only be seen at a super low tide.
Another year he was responsible for a rumour about a crocodile on the loose in the Barwon River estuary.
Mr Harrison says he usually works solo but this time he was so pleased with his creation that he let his family in on it.
“I don’t even normally tell my family what I am doing, that way nobody can derail it,” he said.
“But this time I was a bit chuffed with it so I let them in on it.”
Mr Harrison had some tips for other pranksters.
“You’ve got to get up early and then you have to maintain your Insta and Facebook and delete comments when people catch on,” he said.