FAIRPORT, Mich. - More than 300 years ago, Le Griffon, the first European-owned vessel to sail the upper Great Lakes, disappeared.
Now, this weekend, the mystery behind French explorer Robert La Salle's ship could be solved.
In September 1679, the Griffon left Washington Island, never to be seen again.
The Great Lakes Exploraton Group, stationed this weekend in Fairport, Mich., believes it found the ship.
"I know the Great Lakes like the back of my hand," said Steve Libert of the Great Lakes Exploration Group.
Since learning about it in his 8th grade history class, the Le Griffon has become a passion for 59-year-old Steve Libert.
"He just made it sound so interesting, that I couldn't fathom a ship like that," said Libert.
He isn't alone. The 17th century ship has eluded maritime lovers for three centuries.
"Le Griffon is probably the most sought-after shipwreck in the Great Lakes. It's quite literally the holy grail, if you will, of shipwrecks. To Great Lakes ship exploration, it would be like finding Noah's Ark," said Bob Desh of the Door County Maritime Museum.
Libert started doing serious research on the Griffon on a trip to Wisconsin with his wife Kathie, who at the time was his girlfriend.
"He just saw the great lakes and fell in love with it," added Kathie Libert.
Her husband first went out on the Great Lakes to search for the Griffon in 1981. For much of the time, he told people he was actually looking for gold, all in the hopes of keeping his true goal a secret.
"We didn't know anything about boats. Certainly, we didn't know anything about the weather patterns out here," said Libert.
Libert eventually caught on. And in September 2001, found what he thinks he was looking for. He says he's 99.9 percent sure the shipwreck is the Le Griffon.
"It's exciting, but at the same time, we're way past being over this. We really want to get this thing identified," said his wife.
After about a decade of legal and political battles, Libert has the permits to identify the shipwreck. Some of the most well-known archeologists in France and the U.S. have flown in to make the final confirmation.
"Sometimes I want it so much to be the Griffon, it's almost like you dream it so much, that maybe it will come true," said Libert.
Hopefully he will find out in just a few days.
Single digit temps around the area caused problems in the Fox Valley Saturday morning.
The frigid temperatures forced some area communities to cancel their weekend Christmas celebrations. But New London braved the cold for its annual Holiday of Wonder Parade.
Maybe it's the weather. Maybe it's all of the injuries, but many Packers fans are saying "no thanks," to this weekend's Packers game.
With only a little snow on the ground in places, snowmobilers are ready for more. In the Lakewood area, trails are not yet open, but clubs are gearing up for an early start to the season.
Marinette Marine is preparing to christen one of its Littoral Combat Ships.
A survey of local businesses looked at employee numbers and overall outlook for the coming year.