Category Archives: La Salle explorer

Adventure On Lake Michigan!


Up north of here, on Lake Michigan, near Poverty Island, there is

a team of scientists and deep sea divers working on a sunken wreck.

They are hoping to identify it as the 17th century ship, the Griffin,

was commanded by the French explorer, La Salle. This ship sailed

under the authority of King Louis XIV.

The United States and French archaeologists have been examining,

among many things, the sediment removed from a hole near a timber

slab that the expedition leader,  Steve Libert, discovered in the lake

“bed.” The project manager, Ken Vrana, said that Mr. Libert, discovered

a “cultural artifact” but is not revealing until details are confirmed.

The article published in the Associate Press, talks about the summer of

2013 being the one to confirm all suspicions and hopes of this great


The sonar machinery has read that a mass of over 40 feet by 18 feet had

been discovered,  a distinct shape that may also be known by the French

as, “Le Griffon.” Hoping to excavate and drag that ship up and out of

the water, reminds me of the fantastic work done with the Titanic. I

have a lot of excitement due to my recent “adventures” on the pirate

ship at the water theme park!

Poverty Island was visited by the Proud Maid, a 45-foot commercial

fishing boat, this summer. It is in the Michigan waters north of the

entrance to Green Bay.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently issued, after

years of legal disputes, a permit to excavate and finish their surveys

that have utilized remote sensing equipment. The Agency claims

ownership over all Great Lakes’ shipwrecks in the state’s waters,

although it acknowledges France’s rights to the Griffin.

“The Griffin is very important to the early history of America,” Michel

L’Hour, director of the Department of Underwater Archaeological

Research in the French Ministry of Culture noted, “If this is the

Griffin,  it will teach us many things.”

The last facts I will offer to this fascinating (to me) story are about

the building of this ship. The shipbuilder, Rene Robert Cavelier de

la Salle ordered the Griffin built near Niagara Falls in 1679. This

was to support his quest for what was widely, but wrongly, believed

to be a passageway to China and Japan. It was the first European

styled vessel that travelled the upper Great Lakes. It crossed Lake

Erie, ventured north to Lake Huron, across Lake Michigan and to

the Eastern shore of where Wisconsin now is. La Salle ordered

the ship to return for more supplies, deliver a load of furs, while

he continued his journey by canoe!

The Griffin was never heard of again!

If you are like I am, you love mysteries, adventures on lakes as

well as the ” high seas,” and this story is one you will hope to hear

its ending, with the help of our scientific knowledge, new sensing

devices and other equipment. If I hear of the “end of this story,”

I will let you know! And please, if you hear more details, especially

those up in Lake Michigan area, let us all know!