In Tulum, Mexico the largest underwater cave has just been discovered. The cave connects two previously known flooded caves, Sac Actun and Dos Ojos, totaling up to a 215 mile stretch of underwater cave. The cave holds a large amount of fresh water reserve that supports biodiversity as well as archeological artifacts including evidence of America's first settlers, Mayan culture, and extinct animals. Until this discovery, the Ox-Bel Ha System, just south of Tulum, was the longest underwater cave at 167 miles. The Sac Actun System was ranked second at 163 miles. The third Koal Baal System and the fourth Dos Ojos System were a fraction of the length, stretching 57 miles and 52 miles respectively. As a result of this new discovery, the Dos Ojos has been added to the Sac Actun system since in the rules of caving, the smaller cave is absorbed by the larger cave. This discovery was made by an underwater exploration group of the Great Maya Aquifer Project (GAM).
Tulum is considered the mecca of cave-diving with 358 cave systems in the region, totaling up to 870 miles of underwater cave. Many of the connections have been theorized and many have dedicated many years of their lives attempting to find them. The GAM team has dedicated their discovery to Bil Phillips a underwater explorer and co-founder of the Quintana Roo Speleological Survey, a database with detailed maps of these complex systems that’s used to understand and protect the area. Bill spent 40 years of his life exploring these sites and recently passed away in November of 2017.