When the time came for us to sail to Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion called Julius of the Imperial Regiment. We boarded a ship based in Adramyttium that was headed to the coastal ports of the province of Asia, and we set sail. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, went with us. The next day we had a brief stop at Sidon, and Julius was kind enough to let Paul go ashore and visit his friends so they could provide what he needed.
We set out from there and sailed to the leeward of Cyprus because the winds were against us. Then we sailed directly across the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, arriving at the port of Myra in Lycia. There the centurion found a ship from Alexandria that would be sailing to Italy, and arranged for us to join it.
We sailed slowly for several days and eventually arrived off Cnidus. But since the winds wouldn't allow us to continue we sailed across to the lee of Crete, near to Salmone. With some difficulty we made our way along the coast until we arrived at a place called Fair Havens, near to the town of Lasea. We'd lost a lot of time, and the voyage was becoming dangerous because it was now after the Fast.* Paul warned them, 10 Men, I predict that this voyage will result in much hardship and lossnot just of the cargo and the ship, but also our very lives.” 11 But the centurion paid more attention to the advice of the ship's captain and its owner than to what Paul said.
12 Since the harbor was not large enough to over-winter in, the majority were in favor of leaving and trying if possible to reach Phoenix and spend the winter therea harbor in Crete that faces northwest and southwest.
13 When a moderate south wind began to blow, they thought they could do what they planned. They pulled up the anchor and sailed close inshore along the coast of Crete. 14 But it wasn't long before a hurricane-force wind called a “northeaster” blew from the land. 15 The ship was forced out to sea and could not face into the wind. So we had to give in and allow ourselves to be driven before the wind. 16 We were eventually able to run into the lee of a small island called Cauda, and managed with some difficulty to secure the ship's boat on board. 17 After hoisting it aboard, the sailors bound ropes around the hull to strengthen it. Then, worried that they would be wrecked on the Syrtis banks, they lowered the sea anchor and allowed the ship to be driven along.
18 The following day as we were violently thrown about by the storm, the crew started throwing the cargo overboard. 19 On the third day they grabbed the ship's gear and tossed it into the sea. 20 We hadn't seen the sun or the stars for many days as the storm beat down on us; so any hope of our being saved was lost.
21 Nobody had eaten anything for a long time. Then Paul stood before them and told them, “Men, you should have listened to me and not sailed from Crete. Then you could have avoided all this hardship and loss. 22 But now I advise you keep up your courage, because nobody is going to be lost, just the ship. 23 Last night an angel of my God and whom I serve, stood beside me.
24 ‘Don't be afraid, Paul,’ he told me. ‘You have to stand trial before Caesar. See, God has graciously given to you everyone who is sailing with you.’ 25 So men, have courage! I trust God, and I'm convinced things will happen just as I was told. 26 However, we will be wrecked on some island.”
27 At around midnight on the fourteenth night of the storm, still being blown over the Sea of Adria, the crew suspected they were getting close to land. 28 They checked the depth and found it was forty meters, and a little while later they checked again and it was thirty meters.
29 They were concerned that we might be wrecked on rocks, so they dropped four anchors from the stern, and prayed for daylight to come.
30 The crew tried to leave the ship, and had lowered the ship's boat into the water with the pretext that they were going to drop anchors from the ship's bow. 31 But Paul told the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless the crew stays with the ship, you will be lost.” 32 So the soldiers cut the ropes holding the ship's boat, and let it loose.
33 At daybreak Paul urged all of them to eat something. “It's been fourteen days now that you haven't eaten anything because you've been so worried and preoccupied,” he told them. 34 Please do what I say and eat some food. This will help give you strength. For not even a hair from anyone's head is going to be lost!” 35 When he'd finished speaking he picked up a loaf of bread, and gave thanks to God for it in front of everyone. Then he broke the bread, and began to eat. 36 Everyone was encouraged and they ate too. 37 The total number of people on board was two hundred and seventy-six.
38 Once they'd had enough to eat, the crew made the ship lighter by throwing the supplies of wheat overboard. 39 When dawn came they didn't recognize the coastline, but they saw a bay that had a beach. They planned to try running the ship aground there. 40 So they cut the anchor ropes, leaving the anchors in the sea. At the same time they untied the ropes holding the rudders, raised the foresail to the wind, and made for the beach.
41 But they struck a sandbar and the ship grounded. The bow hit, and stuck so firm it couldn't be moved, while the stern began to be broken apart by the pounding surf.
42 The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners so none of them could swim away and escape. 43 But the centurion, because he wanted to save Paul's life, prevented them from doing this, and ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and make for land. 44 The rest grabbed hold of planks and other wreckage, so that everyone was able to reach land safely.
* 27:9 “The Fast”: The Day of Atonement, probably in October, so sailing at this season would be problematic. 27:16 “Ship's boat”—a small boat like a dinghy or lifeboat, sometimes towed behind a ship, sometimes tied down on deck. Also in verse 30. 27:23 Literally, “the God to whom I belong.”