When shipwreck hunter Steve Libert spotted a massive wooden beam at the bottom of Northern Lake Michigan in 2001 during a dive, he and many others had high hopes he’d discovered a piece of a 17th-century, sunken French ship called the Griffin, or Le Griffon.
What Happened to the Griffin?
For 30 years, Libert has searched for traces of the Lake Michigan shipwreck. The ship was built by legendary French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle and disappeared in 1679 after setting sail from what is now Green Bay, Wisc., bearing six crew members and a load of furs, according to an Associated Press article. History tells us La Salle himself was killed by his own men in a mutiny in 1687.
The June Expedition
Last month, a team of commercial divers and scientists retrieved the 20-foot-long beam from its watery resting place where half was embedded in the thick mud of the lake bed. The team dug deeply near the site of the beam, but unfortunately found nothing but bedrock. The beam is currently being stored and preserved for future study.
While the Griffin itself was not found, French archeologists who examined the beam believe that the wood is hundreds of years old and resembles a bowsprit of a ship that may have at one time been connected to a hull. Libert is still optimistic that the Griffin is nearby, but had to pause the search for the lost ship once again to raise funds for the mission through his organization the Great Lakes Exploration Group.
Libert himself could not be a part of the expedition dive due to poor health, but previously participated in more than 1,000 dives in search of the Griffin, according to an article in the New York Times. Libert and his wife have spent an estimated $1 million in their endeavor to find the lost ship, the Times article noted.
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