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|Born||December 18, 1974|
Aschaffenburg, Bavaria, Germany
|Known for||Known for connecting the Sac Actun and Dos Ojos cave systems in the Yucatán Peninsula|
|Awards||National Geographic's Adventurers of the Year (2007)|
Robbie Schmittner (born 18 December 1974) is a German Cave diving|cave diver, adventurer and explorer best known for connecting the Sac Actun and Dos Ojos cave systems in the Yucatán Peninsula. He has dedicated over twenty years of his adult life to exploring the cave system of the Yucatán and is responsible for discovering and mapping over 420 kilometers of uncharted caves.
Schmittner was born in Aschaffenburg and raised in Rothenbuch, Germany where he worked as a lumberjack until his early twenties when he moved to Tulum, Mexico to pursue a career in cave diving and exploration.
He is fluent in German, English, Spanish and Portuguese.
In 1996, Schmittner visited Mexico for the first time on vacation. During his trip, he first experienced cave diving, of which he had no previous knowledge. He was "enthralled by the magical underworld" he caught a glimpse of during those first few dives. He returned to Germany with the intention of returning to the caves as soon as he could. For two years, he saved and finally took a six month unpaid position from his job as a lumberjack to return to the town of Tulum and the cenotes surrounding it. During those six months, he worked as a cavern guide, open water instructor, and odd jobs including mechanic, carpenter and painter. He made the decision to stay in Tulum and pursue a career of cave diving long-term.
Those first few years, Schmittner dove almost daily to build up his experience and know-how with the hopes of becoming a cave explorer one day. In 1999, he visited the Ox Bel Ha exploration camp and met the team of explorers led by cave diving legend, Bill Phillips. This experience was the final push for Schmittner, cementing his career choice and motivation to explore the cave systems. Since then, he has spent over twenty years meticulously tracking cave entrances and mapping uncharted cave.
In 2018, he found a connection between the Sac Actun and Dos Ojos systems, forming the world's largest known flooded cave system. The connection is the result of over fourteen years that Schmittner spent, dedicating his exploration efforts to the quest.
Schmittner is a member of the Explorers Club and his exploration work has been recognized by National Geographic and the National Speleological Society.
In 2007, he was named one of National Geographic's Adventurers of the Year
In the media
- Daley, Jason. "World's Largest Underwater Cave System Discovered in Mexico". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 2020-07-01.
- "A life of exploration: Diving the caves of the Yucatan Peninsula | World Oceans Day Online Portal". unworldoceansday.org. Retrieved 2020-07-01.
- "Speleotech". www.speleotech.com. Retrieved 2020-07-01.
- "World's Largest Underwater Cave Discovered". National Geographic News. 2018-01-17. Retrieved 2020-07-01.
- "Certificate". caves.org. Retrieved 2020-07-01.
- "Steve Bogaerts, Robbie Schmittner, Sam Meacham, Adventurers of the Year 2007 -- National Geographic". Adventure. 2016-04-25. Retrieved 2020-07-01.
- A life of exploration: Diving the caves of the Yucatan Peninsula
- Robbie Schmittner on instagram
- Robbie Schmittner youtube channel
- Robbie Schmittner | konstantinkakaes.com
- Steve Bogaerts, Robbie Schmittner, Sam Meacham Adventurers of the Year 2007
- Exploring Earth's insides: cave diving in Mexico « My Dive
- Robbie Schmittner - Scubaverse
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