Curiosity had brought him to a group of islands called the Anambas, whose remoteness made them a hidden gem even though the location is quite close to Singapore, where he has been residing for the last few decades.

On a sailing trip, he stopped by at Bawah Island and what he saw made his jaws instantly dropped. Bawah consists of six small islands and three sheltered lagoons surrounded by lush jungle rising to 150 meters. The pristine waters, the colourful corals, and the white fine sandy beaches made him end up staying there for a week.

“When the opportunity came up to develop Bawah into a resort, we wanted to preserve and keep it as the first time when we saw it. Making it all even more important that we follow a sustainable operational plan protecting the land and the sea while lifting the welfare of the surrounding communities. I have always been very passionate about preserving nature,” reminisced Hartnoll, who is currently looking at ways to make the journey to reach Bawah from Singapore more of an experience by approaching potential partnerships with luxury yachts. This may soon be realised since Hartnoll has been in a carrier business for many years. He owns and operates a fleet of ships that carry containers worldwide, X-Press Feeders.

Having built the luxury eco-resort for almost six years without heavy machinery so as to avoid any destruction to the environment, Bawah is now a marine reserve and free from destructive dynamite fishing. Tim explains: “We are not only responsibly removing our waste, but we are also able to regularly clean our beaches and keep harmful rubbish away from the ocean – and one of the programmes tailored by the Anambas Foundation is to educate the locals on the importance of keeping the ocean clean. From day one, our plans have been created with sustainability and the environment in mind, thus the Anambas Foundation has an incredibly important role,” said Hartnoll.

While running the resort as a profit-making entity, there is a need for an independent force to implement the marine and terrestrial conservation programs, as well as the community empowerment. “All those achievements we have with the resort will mean a lot less if our neighbouring villages do not grow together with us. That is why it is imperative that we ensure to bring the community to grow together with us, and the foundation can help us achieve that,” he told.