From Caesarea to the Island of Malta
(1) When it was decided that it was time for us to sail for Rome, Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a Roman military officer (a centurion) named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment. (2) We boarded a ship from Adramyttium (in modern Oren, Turkey) about to sail to the ports along the coast of the Roman province of Asia, and we put out to sea. Aristarchus from Thessalonica in the Roman province of Macedonia was with us.
(3) The next day we landed at the Mediterranean port city of Sidon (in modern Lebanon), and Julius, in his kindness to Paul, allowed him to visit his friends so that they could provide for his personal needs.
(4) From Sidon we sailed and passed to the left side of the island of Cyprus because the winds were pushing against us. (5) When we had sailed across the open Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at the city of Myra (in modern Demre,Turkey).
(6) In Myra, Julius the military officer found an Alexandrian ship sailing for Italy and put us on board. (7) After leaving Myra the sailing was very slow for many days, and we had difficulty arriving off the port of Cnidus (located on the tip of the 40-mile-long Resadiye peninsula in southwestern Turkey). Because the wind was pushing us off course, we sailed to the left side of the island of Crete, opposite Salmone. (8) We moved along the coast of Crete with difficulty and came to a place called Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea.
(9) We had lost valuable time, and sailing had already become very dangerous because it was now after the Day of Atonement (October 5, AD 59). So Paul warned them, (10) “Men, our journey is going to be very dangerous and it will bring great loss to the ship and cargo, and even to our own lives.” (11) But the Roman military officer, instead of listening to Paul, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship. (12) Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority of men decided that we should sail on, hoping to winter in the Crete harbor of Phoenix, because it faced both southwest and northwest.
(13) When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity, so they raised the anchor and sailed along the shore of the island of Crete. (14) Soon a hurricane-force wind called the Northeaster swept down from Crete. (15) The ship was caught by the storm and could not sail into the wind, so we surrendered to it and were driven along helplessly.
(16) As we passed to the left of the small island of Cauda, we had a hard time keeping the lifeboat secure. (17) So the crew pulled it aboard. Then they put ropes under the ship to hold it together. Because they were afraid they would hit the ground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the anchor and let the ship drift along. (18) We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began throwing out the cargo into the sea. (19) On the third day, they threw the ship’s gear overboard. (20) When the sky was totally dark for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up any hope of staying alive.
(21) Because the crew had not eaten any food for a long time, Paul stood up before them and said, “Men, you should have followed my advice not to sail from Crete, then you would have spared the boat’s damage and the loss of cargo. (22) But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because although the ship will be destroyed, none of you will die. (23) For last night an angel of the God I serve appeared to me (24) and said, ‘Paul, do not be afraid. You will stand trial before the Emperor in Rome, and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ (25) So keep up your courage, men, because I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. (26) Nevertheless, our ship will be driven ashore on an island.”
(27) On the fourteenth night we were still being driven across the Adriatic Sea, when about midnight the sailors sensed that we were approaching land. (28) They dropped a weighted measuring line and discovered that the water was 120 feet deep. A short time later they dropped a line again and found it was 90 feet deep. (29) Fearing that the ship would crash against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the back of the ship and prayed for daylight. (30) In an attempt to escape from the ship, the sailors let the lifeboat down into the sea, pretending that they were lowering anchors from the front of the ship. (31) Then Paul said to the Roman military officer and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay on the ship, you will die.” (32) So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it drift away.
(33) Just before sunrise Paul urged everyone to eat, saying, “For the last 14 days you have been in constant fear and have not eaten any food. (34) Now I beg you to eat some food, because you need it to live. Not one of you will lose a single strand of hair from his head.” (35) After Paul said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke the bread and began to eat it. (36) They were all encouraged and ate some food. (37) Altogether there were 276 people on the ship. (38) When everyone had eaten as much as they wanted, they threw grain into the sea to lighten the ship.
(39) When the sun arose in the morning, they did not recognize the land, but they saw a bay with a sandy beach, where they decided to run the ship aground if they could. (40) Cutting loose the anchors, they left them in the sea and untied the ropes that held the rudders. Then they lifted the front sail to the wind and sailed the ship toward the beach. (41) But the ship hit a sandbar and the ship’s front end became stuck in the sand and would not move, and the ship’s back end broke into pieces from the pounding of the waves.
(42) The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to stop them from swimming away and escaping. (43) But the Roman military officer wanted to keep Paul alive, and so he ordered the soldiers not to kill the prisoners. He told those who could swim to jump overboard and swim to the island. (44) The rest rode planks or pieces of the ship’s wood to land. In this way everyone reached land safely.