Remember the Grifon?

The boys at the NHC have named Chantal. Its a worthless storm moving quickly northeast and will probably live much longer as an extra-tropical storm than a tropical storm. There is also a wave out there that needs the Bee Gees because its having problems staying alive, but we’ll see how it shakes out. No Changes for us. Lazy, Hazy hot Dog Days ahead. Rain chances are still pretty slim for as far as the eye can see. We’ll keep looking nonetheless.

On This Date In History: On this date in 1715, the French ship Grifon survived a hurricane off the coast of Florida. “So what,” you ask? Well, first off when the Spanish came to the new world they were looking for booty and plunder. They wanted to exploit the region for its natural resources and send it back to the king in Spain. So they would gather up all of their gold and trinkets and send them back on ships, usually in a convoy to protect against pirates. The Spaniards were rather formidable in those days and so it was suicide for any marauding pirates to try and take on a fleet of ships. On this date in 1715, 10 Spanish ships and one French ship made its way through the Straits of Florida where they ran into a hurricane. For some reason, the French ship sailed farther off the coast from the Spaniards. The Spanish ships, filled with hundreds of tons of gold and silver, sunk. The french ship survived. That French ship was the Grifon. If you remember the movie The Deep then this ship is familiar to you. Its the ship that Robert Shaw decided had survived but later came back and may have sunk. I’ve provided a script from the scene below. But anyway, there are two things that come to mind from this. First is that Peter Benchley did a fabulous job of basing his fictitious tale on accurate history. I was very surprised that there really was a Grifon that really was the only ship to not sink in a hurricane. The other thing is that about 80% of that gold was recovered by the Spanish by 1716 but the rest did not come back to the surface until the mid 1960’s, which makes me wonder how fictitious Benchley’s tale really was.

One other thing. The people of South Florida today would have nothing in common with the Spaniards of 1715. Nothing except hurricanes. They would be able to use hurricanes as point of reference and commonality. Languages, culture, technology, social systems and political systems all change. But the one thing that is constant is weather. The hurricane that sunk all of those ships and made it possible for Peter Benchley to get rich writing a fictitious story about it and gave us all an opportunity to see Jaqueline Bissett skin diving in her t-shirt, is the same as hurricane Andrew in 1992…or Ivan, or Katrina. The weather has not changed…nor do I think it ever will. In fact, I really wonder how much people have changed. Human nature seems to be constant. Today we run around trying to get ahold of the latest gadget like an I-pod or I-phone or flat screen tv. Maybe we yearn for that new car. Well, the Spanish were no different, they were running around working hard to take people’s gold. Here’s the place for the Ward Cleaver moral to the story about not wasting so much time on chasing for our own personal gold because it may get all washed away by the storms of life….but I’ll avoid that. You’ve probably already seen Ward and June give that speech.

Here’s the script from the scene in The Deep….sorry no pictures of Jacqueline.


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