Acts 27:6-10
Acts 27:6 (KJB)
And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and he put us therein.
Julius had found a ship from Alexandria, Egypt which was sailing to Italy. Alexandria was about 350 miles (563 km) due south of Myra. Once Julius was able to secure passage, he then placed all the prisoners on to the ship. Egypt was the chief supplier of wheat for the city of Rome and were very important ships because all kinds of food was made out of wheat. Ancient people did not eat very much meat but bread was the staple food and when the population increased in Rome, the Egyptian wheat was much more important. (Gen 41:55 KJV) And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do. This is why in Joseph’s time, the grains were very important because it was their staple food.
Acts 27:7 (KJB)
And when we had sailed slowly many days, and scarce were come over against Cnidus, the wind not suffering us, we sailed under Crete, over against Salmone;
The wind had continued to blow westward which meant their progress was very slow. In the United States we have the Jet Stream which flows from west to east. It takes about 5 hours to fly from the west coast to the east coast but about 6 hours from the east coast to the west coast because of the Jet Stream being contrary. The wind had continued to hamper their trip and they tried to make it to the port of Cnidus which was in the southwestern Asian province of Caria. They were unable to make that port so they had to sail to Crete which was southwest of where they were, they had to sail toward the city of Salmone which is on the eastern tip of Crete. It was actually a high point projecting into the water.
Acts 27:8 (KJB)
And, hardly passing it, came unto a place which is called The fair havens; nigh whereunto was the city of Lasea.
Crete is an island which is 160 miles (257 km) long located southeast of Greece. It has a mountain chain that runs from east to west and may be a mitigating factor in the force of the winds. They had sailed on the southerly part of the Island coming to Fair Havens which had a harbor made of a small bay. It has been said that the harbor was not big enough to hold big ships but they could harbor at anchor. The town of Lasea was about five miles (8 km) to the east.
Acts 27:9 (KJB)
Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them,
They had to stay at Fair Havens for a considerable amount of time because the strong winds had thrown them off course. The fast that Luke is referring to is the Day of Atonement which lasted one day. In 59 A.D. the Day of Atonement fell on October 5, and since they were entering the winter months it would be dangerous to continue their voyage. Paul was an experienced sea traveler having experienced three ship wrecks. Sailing was considered dangerous after September 14 on the Mediterranean. Storms were more frequent and the skies were overcast the majority of the time so navigation by the stars would have been impossible. Most ships chose to harbor for the winter. Paul had admonished the crew and probably Julius, that sailing at this time would be a very dangerous thing.
Acts 27:10 (KJB)
And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives.
Hurt - Disaster
Damage - Loss
Lading - Cargo
Paul had gone probably to the captain of the ship and also to Julius the centurion. If the ship sinks but Julius lives, he would take the place of any prisoners that would have escaped. So he has a lot to lose if he takes the wrong advice. Paul is also telling them that their lives are in jeopardy if they sail and he is sure that the cargo will be lost along with the ship. Paul no doubt was speaking with the leading of the Holy Spirit because he would not have made this type of suggestion to them without divine intervention. There, no doubt, was a lot of cargo on this ship which many businesses were waiting for. If the ship was destroyed and the cargo goes to the bottom of the Mediterranean, many more people would be affected than just those on the ship.