I have often been asked "what are the chances of finding Ambergris on the Thanet coastline ?". More often than not I do seem to be asked that question by people who do not know the difference between Amber the fossilized wood resin and Ambergris that originates from the Sperm Whale. However the answer is pretty straight forward, a find of Ambergris is extremely rare but the possibility can never be ruled out.
I did find a lump once and not realizing what it was I left it where I found it because I had found a big lump of mahogany at the same time and I had nowhere to put the Ambergris. The piece I found at the time was about the size of a misshaped cricket ball and was non nondescript, smelt weird and had what looked like a squid beak embedded in it.Ambergris found on the foreshore is the only part of the Sperm Whale that can be legally owned without informing Natural England otherwise any other part of has to be declared.
It is almost two years since the Sperm Whale was beached in Pegwell Bay and later cut up on the old Hoverport slipway. I have been back to the site this winter and have found another fragment of bone from the chain saw massacre which is now weathering down on my shed roof. When I get around to it I will inform Natural England of the find.
From the sea defence work at Margate I have now got a box of bones and teeth found around the square head of the stone pier. This represent two winters worth of finds and out of that lot I suspect one fragment as coming from a sea mammal and that is only because of the waxy feel and the density of the bone.
During the past two years I have downloaded so much on the Sperm Whale from around the world that I am tempted to have a go this summer at finding Ambergris , plus a few grand would come in handy.
With 22 miles of Thanet coastline planning searches would really be down to more than likely, less likely and no chance. Very much in the same way as finding Amber (wood resin) as most Amber hunters do have small search areas. The same I suppose could be said for the sea coal collectors and the areas they work.
I doubt it if I will hit the jackpot but I will give it a good go plus part of the fun is the other finds that do turn up expectantly.