Now when it was decided that we should sail for Italy, they handed over Paul and a few other prisoners into the custody of Julius, a Captain of the Augustan battalion;
and going on board a ship of Adramyttium which was about to sail to the ports of the province of Asia, we put to sea; Aristarchus, the Macedonian, from Thessalonica, forming one of our party.
The next day we put in at Sidon. There Julius treated Paul with thoughtful kindness and allowed him to visit his friends and profit by their generous care.
Putting to sea again, we sailed under the lee of Cyprus, because the winds were against us;
and, sailing the whole length of the sea that lies off Cilicia and Pamphylia, we reached Myra in Lycia.
There Julius found an Alexandrian ship bound for Italy, and put us on board of her.
It took several days of slow sailing for us to come with difficulty off Cnidus; from which point, as the wind did not allow us to get on in the direct course, we ran under the lee of Crete by Salmone.
Then, coasting along with difficulty, we reached a place called `Fair Havens,' near the town of Lasea.
Our voyage thus far had occupied a considerable time, and the navigation being now unsafe and the Fast also already over, Paul warned them.
"Sirs," he said, "I perceive that before long the voyage will be attended with danger and heavy loss, not only to the cargo and the ship but to our own lives also."
But Julius let himself be persuaded by the pilot and by the owner rather than by Paul's arguments;
and as the harbour was inconvenient for wintering in, the majority were in favour of putting out to sea, to try whether they could get to Phoenix--a harbour on the coast of Crete facing north-east and south-east--to winter there.
And a light breeze from the south sprang up, so that they supposed they were now sure of their purpose. So weighing anchor they ran along the coast of Crete, hugging the shore.
But it was not long before a furious north-east wind, coming down from the mountains, burst upon us and carried the ship out of her course.
She was unable to make headway against the gale; so we gave up and let her drive.
Then we ran under the lee of a little island called Cauda, where we managed with great difficulty to secure the boat;
and, after hoisting it on board, they used frapping-cables to undergird the ship, and, as they were afraid of being driven on the Syrtis quicksands, they lowered the gear and lay to.
But, as the storm was still violent, the next day they began to lighten the ship;
and, on the third day, with their own hands they threw the ship's spare gear overboard.
Then, when for several days neither sun nor stars were seen and the terrific gale still harassed us, the last ray of hope was now vanishing.
When for a long time they had taken but little food, Paul, standing up among them, said, "Sirs, you ought to have listened to me and not have sailed from Crete. You would then have escaped this suffering and loss.
But now take courage, for there will be no destruction of life among you, but of the ship only.
For there stood by my side, last night, an angel of the God to whom I belong, and whom also I worship,
and he said, "`Dismiss all fear, Paul, for you must stand before Caesar; and God has granted you the lives of all who are sailing with you.'
"Therefore, Sirs, take courage; for I believe God, and am convinced that things will happen exactly as I have been told.
But we are to be stranded on a certain island."
It was now the fourteenth night, and we were drifting through the Sea of Adria, when, about midnight, the sailors suspected that land was close at hand.
So they hove the lead and found twenty fathoms of water; and after a short time they hove again and found fifteen fathoms.
Then for fear of possibly running on rocks, they threw out four anchors from the stern and waited impatiently for daylight.
The sailors, however, wanted to make their escape from the ship, and had lowered the boat into the sea, pretending that they were going to lay out anchors from the bow.
But Paul, addressing Julius and the soldiers, said, "Your lives will be sacrificed, unless these men remain on board."
Then the soldiers cut the ropes of the ship's boat and let her fall off.
And continually, up till daybreak, Paul kept urging all on board to take some food. "This is the fourteenth day," he said, "that you have been anxiously waiting for the storm to cease, and have fasted, eating little or nothing.
I therefore strongly advise you to take some food. This is essential for your safety. For not a hair will perish from the head of any one of you."
Having said this he took some bread, and, after giving thanks to God for it before them all, he broke it in pieces and began to eat it.
This raised the spirits of all, and they too took food.
There were 276 of us, crew and passengers, all told.
After eating a hearty meal they lightened the ship by throwing the wheat overboard.
When daylight came, they tried in vain to recognise the coast. But an inlet with a sandy beach attracted their attention, and now their object was, if possible, to run the ship aground in this inlet.
So they cut away the anchors and left them in the sea, unloosing at the same time the bands which secured the paddle-rudders. Then, hoisting the foresail to the wind, they made for the beach.
But coming to a place where two seas met, they stranded the ship, and her bow sticking fast remained immovable, while the stern began to go to pieces under the heavy hammering of the sea.
Now the soldiers recommended that the prisoners should be killed, for fear some one of them might swim ashore and effect his escape.
But their Captain, bent on securing Paul's safety, kept them from their purpose and gave orders that those who could swim should first jump overboard and get to land;
and that the rest should follow, some on planks, and others on various things from the ship. In this way they all got safely to land.