A shipwreck found in the Great Lakes is suspected to be Le Griffon, which is considered to be the holy grail of wrecks lost in the Great Lakes. The ship sunk in 1679 and has been missing for more than 300 years, according to The Inquisitr. But divers Kevin Dykstra and Frederick Monroe say they believe they found the Griffon, and Dykstra said he was four feet away from it.
“We were literally in the water for a couple of hours when we got a hit on the sonar … When I was down there, I turned around and I was literally four feet from this shipwreck and I never saw it on my way down, so my return trip was quite fast.”
The Griffon is only one of 2,000 shipwrecks in Lake Michigan, but none have been more sought after than this gem. It was a French ship built by the explorer Le Salle. The Griffin disappeared in northern Lake Michigan during a storm on its maiden voyage after leaving Green Bay, Wisconsin. Kevin Dykstra says they have viewed the photos taken of the sunken vessel.
“It really wasn’t until we got back to a computer and viewed the photos that I realized I very well could have been photographing the Griffin … There’s no cables, no cabin, and no smokestacks … It almost looked like the empty hull of a large canoe, and there were no mechanical devices of any kind in the debris.”
While the Le Griffon shipwreck may have been found, Dykstra and Monroe set out on a diving expedition three years ago. The divers say that if they had seen the same image on their sonar, they wouldn’t have given it a second thought to dive down and investigate it because it was so small, according to The Blaze. Through extensive research and consultations with experts, Dykstra and Monroe have concluded that they, in fact, found the Griffin.
“We researched online to find a 17th-century French Griffin, and the one we came up with, I over-layed on top of the photo [I took of the Griffin carving on the front of the ship] and it was really impressive … So it’s either a 100-to-1 odds that the front of the ship looks exactly like a griffin, and I don’t know how that can happen by coincidence, and to know that the wood carvers that built the Griffin carved the likeness of a Griffin in the front of the ship, it kind of lends itself towards that.”
For Dykstra and Monroe, finding this ship wasn’t in their plans. In fact, both will tell you that this sunken vessel got in the way of what they were really searching for that day. Le Griffon shipwreck may have been found, they stumbled upon it as they were looking for $2 million dollars in gold bullion that is somewhere at the bottom of Lake Michigan. In the late 1800s, there were box cars crossing the Great Lakes, and some of those box cars were pushed off from car ferries that were hauling them to save the ferries in bad storms.
Dykstra and Monroe say $2 million of Confederate gold coins were being smuggled in one of those box cars that was shoved off the side of the ferry. During other dives in the area, Dykstra and Monroe have seen broken box cars laying at the bottom of Lake Michigan. They both feel they’re getting closer to solving a bigger mystery than the Griffin.
Dykstra and Monroe say that they waited three years to go public with their discovery of the Griffin because they wanted to contact as many experts as possible to review their pictures and video, and do enough research to make sure.
As the Le Griffon shipwreck may have been found, it comes with a prize. Le Griffon was constructed and launched near Cayuga Creek on the Niagara River as a seven-cannon, 45-ton barque. La Salle and Father Louis Hennepin set out on the Le Griffon’s maiden voyage on August 7, 1679, with a crew of 32, sailing across Lake Erie, Lake Huron, and Lake Michigan through uncharted waters that only canoes had previously explored, notes USA Today. La Salle disembarked, and on September 18 sent the ship back toward Niagara. However, on its return trip from Green Bay, Wisconsin, it vanished with all six crew members and a load of furs.