What would you do if you unexpectedly inherited a legendary tropical dive operation from an industry icon? For the family of Renee “Apple” Applegate, who operated Dive Paradise in the diving mecca of Cozumel, Mexico for over two decades until her passing late last year, the answer is to keep the company alive as a living tribute. In order to do so, the family is setting off on a tour of the US in order to meet the many customers, friends and partners throughout the country who knew and loved Apple. While on the road, they’ll be capturing stories about Cozumel, diving, and the company she made famous.
“When Apple passed away, it became clear to our family that the best way to honor her was to continue operating Dive Paradise as a living monument to the community of customers and employees she built over more than two decades,” said Apple’s nephew and tech entrepreneur Michael Penwarden, who serves as Dive Paradise’s new CEO. “It also became clear that we have a lot to learn about – and a lot of people to meet in – the dive industry. Hitting the road and visiting as many divers, dive shops and travel brokers as possible is a great way for our entire family to introduce ourselves and to turn this unexpected and sad situation into a positive celebration of Apple’s amazing legacy.”
The tour, which kicks off in Michael’s hometown of Truckee, CA on June 21st, will then make its way to the Scuba Show in Long Beach, California on June 22-24. The tour will feature a 32-foot RV covered by original undersea paintings by Mexican muralist Aneliz Alvarez, who also painted a mural honoring Apple at Dive Paradise’s soon-to-be-opened beach club. Accompanying Michael will be his family: his sister Caroline, his wife Jill and their daughters Sasha, age 12, Anya, age 8 and their dog Ajax. Following the Scuba Show, the tour will stop in San Diego before departing California and heading east to Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado and beyond.
While on tour, Apple’s family will personally meet, thank and interview her many admirers and business partners while reinforcing the message that her beliefs and values will continue as the foundation of her business, as her Cozumel scuba diving operations continue and expand upon her life’s passion to make scuba diving accessible to greater numbers of people.
At each stop, scuba divers, non-divers, underwater aficionados and media are invited to celebrate Apple’s legacy and join the family for an afternoon of fun, festivities and a barbeque. Signature sparkling Apple cider will be served, limited edition 2018 Tour t-shirts and jewelry featuring new interpretations of Dive Paradise’s famous “Apple” dive flag will available. A flat panel monitor in front of the RV will showcase video footage of the stunning undersea world of Cozumel.
Guests are also encouraged to share their experience at the Dive Paradise Cozumel RV Express, by taking selfies in front of the mural and uploading them to their social media channels with the hashtag #DiveParadiseRVExpress. Anyone who posts on social media using the hashtag will be entered to win a prize at each tour stop with one lucky winner selected at the end of the tour receiving a Grand Prize trip to Cozumel.
Renee “Apple” Applegate ran Dive Paradise from 1994-2017. She was a PADI master scuba instructor with over 30 years of diving and training experience, and was inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame in 2003. Apple began her diving in the challenging waters off the coast of California. With a background in nursing, she spent many years teaching SCUBA in the Red Sea while serving as head nurse in a Saudi Arabian hospital. She was a true pioneer – both in the male dominated sport of the 1960s and as the first female dive operation manager in Cozumel.