T he Great Lakes Exploration Group alongside other Michigan maritime organizations are researching the site that they believe is LaSalle's legendary boat called LeGriffon. In the fall they're going to be assesing the site with magnatometry so they can begin escavating. It was first discovered in 2001 in the waters of Lake Michigan.
The boat which was lost in 1679 created a controversy between Michigan and France, both claiming ownership of the wreck. Now it appears tensions have subsided. ??
"I think ownership is pretty clear, if this does prove to be LeGriffon, then certainly the Republic of France has standing," said project scientist Kenneth Vrana.
Vrana has dedicated his life to underwater discoveries and to many is considered the "Indiana Jones" of Great Lakes archaeology. Recently, Vrana and his team have used france's interest in the project to their advantage.
"To uncover some historical documentation by LaSalle and about the LeGriffon that i don't think is seen too much light among historians here in the U.S.," Vrana explained.
The team says the information revealed by French historians has answered many questions about the ship. Now they're ready to move forward with the second phase of the exploration and have enlisted the City of Charlevoix to help.
"In order to help out in anyway that we can, all they've really asked the City of Charlevoix is just to support, and we have offered them a slip in the marina," City of Charlevoix Mayor Norm Carlson said.
The dock in the Charlevoix Marina will allow researchers to make the city its home during their exploration. The city hopes the project will draw in future exhibits to Charlevoix, but Vrana is taking it one step at a time and is not letting future plans get in the way of science.
"I always provide a word of caution that we have not positively identified this site, its very promising based on the research conducted so far," Vrana said.