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Young Boy Finds Whale Poop, 'Floating Gold' on English Beach


Charlie Naysmith found a lump of ambergris in a patch of seaweed at Hengistbury Head in Bournemouth (Photo: BBC News)

A chance discovery along the southern coast of England inspires our Geo Quiz.

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We're looking for the name of a large English coastal resort town near Hengistbury Head. An 8-year old boy named Charlie Naysmith was walking along a sandy beach there that looks out on the English Channel. And, as he told the BBC, he stumbled across something.

Naysmith: "I found it at Hengistbury Head, Hengistbury."

BBC anchor: "Can you tell me where it was exactly?"

Naysmith: "It was like in a patch of seaweed."

Experts are calling what Charlie found "floating gold" worth thousands of dollars.

It turns out that Charlie Naysmith's "floating gold" was a large piece of ambergris. If you don't know what ambergris is, here's a hint: it comes out of one end of a whale. Charlie found it on the beach near Bournemouth, a resort on the south coast of England.

Bournemouth's the answer to our Geo Quiz.

As for what floating gold is exactly, we turn to Christopher Kemp. He's author of a new book called Floating Gold: A Natural (and Unnatural) History of Ambergris.