When the south wind began blowing softly, the captain of the ship — taking Paul to Rome to be judged by Caesar — supposed they had obtained favorable sailing conditions; the ship put out to sea, but stayed close to the southern coast of Crete (314).
However, it wasn’t long before they were contending with a tempestuous head wind, called Euroclydon. The ship was unable to head into the fierce wind, and the captain had no choice but to let the winds determine their course.
They were blown to the south side of a small island called Clauda, where they were able to secure the ship’s life boat, tying it down with cables. Then, as the wind continued to drive the ship in a southerly direction, the captain began to fear they might run aground on the Syrtis Banks! To avoid that, the sails were taken down and the ship was driven in a more westerly direction.
But the sea remained extremely rough, so on the next day they lightened the ship by throwing cargo overboard.
On the following day they threw all the ship’s rigging gear overboard!
Neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, while the tempest continued to batter the ship. Many on board gave up all hope of being saved.
After they had all been without food for several days, Paul was inspired by the Holy Spirit to address the entire crew:
“Men, I know you realize by now that you should have listened to me; we shouldn’t have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster & loss. But, I urge you to take heart, for I assure you that there will be no loss of life among you; only the ship will be lost.
“Last night an angel of God said to me, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must be brought before Caesar. Indeed, God will preserve the lives of all those who sail with you!’
“Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God; I believe that it will be just as his angel told me. However, we can only be saved by running aground on a convenient island.”
(314) Acts 27:13-26