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!