Departure for Rome
27 • 1 When it was decided that we should sail for Italy, they handed over Paul and the other prisoners into the care of an officer of the Augustan battalion, named Julius. 2 We boarded a ship of Adramyttium bound for the Asian coasts, and we left accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian from the city of Thessalonica. 3 We arrived at Sidon on the next day. Julius was very kind to Paul, letting him visit his friends and be cared for by them. 4 From there, we sailed along the sheltered coast of Cyprus, because the winds were against us. 5 We sailed across the seas off Cilicia and Pamphylia and arrived at Myra in Lycia. 6 There the captain found a ship from Alexandria sailing for Italy and made us board it.
7 We sailed slowly for several days, and arrived with great difficulty at Cnidus. As the wind did not allow us to enter that port, we sailed for the shelter of Crete with the Cape of Salmone within sight. 8 We turned with difficulty and arrived at a place called Good Ports, near the city of Lasea.
9 Time passed and the crossing began to be dangerous: we had already celebrated the feast of the Fast. 10 Then Paul said to them: “Friends, I believe that it would not be very wise to proceed with our crossing for we could lose not only the cargo and the ship but also our lives.” 11 But the Roman officer relied more on the ship’s captain and the owner of the ship than on the words of Paul. 12 And as the port was not suitable for wintering, the majority agreed to set out from there in the hope of reaching the harbor of Crete called Phoenix, overlooking Africa and Choros, where they could spend the winter.
Storm and shipwreck
13 Then the south wind began to blow and they thought that they had gained their purpose; they weighed anchor and sailed along the island of Crete. 14 But a little later, a strong wind called “the northeaster” swept down on them, from across the island. 15 The ship was dragged along and could not face the wind, so that we remained adrift.
16 As we were crossing under the lee of the small island of Cauda, we managed – but with effort – to secure the lifeboat. 17 After lifting it aboard, they used cables to undergird the hull, and since we feared running aground on the sands of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor. So we continued to be dragged along.
18 The storm lashed at us so strongly that on the next day they began throwing the cargo overboard. 19 On the third day the sailors with their own hands threw out the ship’s gear. 20 For several days neither the sun nor the stars could be seen, and the tempest had not subsided: we lost all hope of saving ourselves.
21 As we had not eaten for days, Paul stood up among them and said: “Friends, if you had followed my advice when I told you not to set sail from Crete, we would not be in such danger now, and we could have avoided this loss. 22 But now I invite you to regain courage for no one among you shall die; only the ship shall be destroyed. 23 Last night there appeared to me an angel of my God to whom I serve, 24 and he said to me: ‘Paul, do not be afraid, you must present yourself before Caesar’s tribunal, and God has guaranteed you the life of all those who sail with you.’
25 Have courage, therefore, my friends, for I trust in God that it will be just as he told me. 26 But we have to run aground on some island.”
27 Near midnight on the fourteenth night, as we were drifting in the Adriatic Sea, the sailors suspected that land was near. 28 They measured the depth of the water and it was thirty-seven meters. After a while, they measured it again and it was twenty-seven meters. 29 They feared that we might hit some rocks, so they cast out four anchors from the stern and waited anxiously for morning. 30 Then the sailors tried to escape from the ship under the pretext of extending the cables of the anchors from the bow, so they lowered the lifeboat into the sea. 31 But Paul said to the captain and to the soldiers: “If they leave the ship, you cannot be saved. 32 So the soldiers cut the mooring cables of the boat and let it fall.
33 As they waited for dawn, Paul urged everyone: “For fourteen days you have not eaten anything because of anxious waiting. 34 I ask you to eat now if you want to live; be sure that not even a hair of your head will be lost.” 35 Having said this, he took bread, gave thanks to God in everybody’s presence, broke it and began to eat. 36 All were encouraged and they too ate. 37 They were two hundred and seventy-six persons in all. 38 When they had eaten enough, they threw the wheat into the sea to lighten the boat.
39 When morning came, they did not recognize the land but noticed a bay with a beach, so they decided to run the ship aground, if possible. 40 They cast off the anchors and left them in the sea; at the same time, they loosened the ropes of the rudders, hoisted the foresail to the wind and headed for the beach. 41 But they struck a sandbank and the ship ran aground. The bow stuck and was immovable, while the stern was broken up by the violent waves.
42 The soldiers then planned to kill the prisoners for fear that some of them might escape by swimming. 43 But the captain, who wished to save Paul, did not allow them to do this. He ordered those who knew how to swim, to be the first to jump into the water and head for the shore, 44 and the rest to hold on to planks or pieces of the ship. So all of us reached land safe and sound.