a light at sea
Life aboard sailing boat Noctiluca celebrating the magic of our oceans
We named our boat after the bioluminescent plankton Noctiluca scintillans that lights up the sea when disturbed at night. Noctiluca was also the Greek goddess of magic, so a fitting name for the boat of a marine biologist and a magician.
Noctiluca is a Westwind 35, 35 feet / 10.7 metre sailing boat built in Taiwan in 1982 with a Robert Parry inspired design. It is cutter rigged with three sails designed for bluewater sailing and open ocean adventures. Noctiluca is a heavy displacement boat, drawing 1.8 metres, weighing around 9 tonnes. The hull is made of heavy GRP fibreglass with a canoe stern and a full keel to handle rough seas and has lots of wooden features that give a classic look. The interior was expertly crafted from teak and shows some fine workmanship that gives it a very cosy and homely feel. The previous owner significantly upgraded Noctiluca to be a liveaboard with solar panels, wind vane steering, autopilot, electric anchor windlass, bow thruster and a wind turbine, as well as a stainless steel bimini on which the solar panels are mounted. He also added a fully battened mainsail, made bespoke with three slab reefs and upgraded the genoa and staysail to roller furling. Since taking ownership of Noctiluca we have put in a huge amount of work to make her safe as a home and keep her seaworthy. The diesel engine installed 17 years ago has recently needed a major overhaul, we replaced the boom when it split in two on a day sail, replaced all the seacocks, internal plumbing, water tanks, holding tank and heads (toilet), refurbished the galley (kitchen), reupholstered all the cushions, installed a new gas cooker and hot water heater and shower to name a few. The list of jobs goes on and on; we have shocked ourselves at how much work and funds it takes to maintain a boat. Yet far more than a boat, Noctiluca is our home. We sold our house and home in Solva, Pembrokeshire of 17 years in order to buy her and embrace the next phase of our lives. We are committed to a new way of life, sailing, freediving and exploring the oceans aboard Noctiluca so that we may illuminate nature’s finest stories.
Who are Lou & Tom?
We are Tom and Lou Luddington and have been happily married and going on adventures together for 20 years. We have dedicated our lives to sharing our passion for the ocean and its wildlife through storytelling, conservation and education, and guiding people on sea kayaking, surfing and rock climbing adventures in some of the world’s most breathtaking locations.
I am a nature photographer and writer with a PhD in marine biology and aim to provide a voice for the natural world through powerful images and writing. My main focus is on coastal and marine environments and in November 2019 my book “Wondrous British Marine Life: a handbook for coastal explorers” was published by Pesda Press. I write a column for Oceanographic Magazine with a focus on marine protected areas.
I have taught adventure sports for many years as well as working in conservation. I am a freediving instructor and magician of the Magic Circle in London - a mark of the highest quality among magicians. I love to use magic as a way of telling stories about the real magic of the natural world.
A Life Together.
We have always been on adventures together, and whilst our careers have often overlapped, we have never fully combined them. So for the first time, we have decided to combine our skills and with the help of our friends and supporters, to become ‘A Light at Sea’. We believe that by doing what we love, the things that light us up, we can give back to the natural world.
"To preserve and cherish all life on this pale blue dot - the only home we have." — Carl Sagan.
Our manifesto. Our beliefs.
1. We want to cherish our planet and encourage others to do so too. We believe that by doing what we love, the things that light us up, we can give back to the natural world. Using our combined skills we aim to share our love of the natural world and champion marine conservation.
2. On our ocean voyages aboard Noctiluca, we aim to be a light at sea, illuminating the wonder and conservation success stories of our oceans through powerful images, video and written words.
3. Collectively we have the power to reverse the destructive trend of the last century BUT we must all commit to some big changes now. We aim to be advocates of a new, earth-friendly existence.
4. By eating a plant-based, vegan diet and shopping with awareness we support more sustainable use of land. Along with our diminishing forests and land plants, seaweeds and ocean plankton provide the oxygen we breathe. Healthy seas are essential for our every breath and the survival of life on Earth.
5. Reducing waste to a minimum in all aspects of our lives.
6. Being confidently naive and stubborn enough to see a plan through.
7. Taking advice from those in the know, AKA Sir David Attenborough and other wise legends.
8. Being great role models for our six nieces, and great-nephew Arlo.
9. Being true to our values, maintaining laser focus on our dreams, building resilience and never giving up.
10. Sharing our adventure with you. Join us along the way, or support us via Patreon.
"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe." — John Muir.