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Sailing To Phoenix
Crete is an island off southeastern Greece, in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, marking the southern boundary of The Aegean Sea. Primarily mountainous (as are all sea islands to a lesser or greater degree i.e. islands are the summits of undersea mountains), rising to 8,060 feet at Mount Ida, Crete is one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean, measuring about 140 miles / 225 kilometers long and 35 miles / 55 kilometers wide. Phenice, in Greek pronounced fee-nicks (hence it also rendered as Phoenix), was a harbor town on the island during the first century AD.
"They might attain to Phenice, and there to winter; which is an haven of Crete"
After his conversion, Paul, the former persecutor of Christ and Christians (see Was Paul Among Them? and From Persecutor To Persecuted) found himself in trouble with both the religious and political authorities (see the Fact Finder question below). When Paul claimed his legal rights as a Roman citizen (see Paul The Roman Citizen), he was sent as a prisoner to Rome where he was to appeal his case "to Caesar" (although, ironically, after a long legal ordeal with the local authorities, "This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar" Acts 26:32 KJV).
"27:1 And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus' band. 27:2 And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia; one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us." (Acts 27:1-2 KJV)
Although the sailing weather was tolerable at first, it soon became more difficult, as it inevitably did at that time of year.
"27:3 And the next day we touched at Sidon. And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself. 27:4 And when we had launched from thence, we sailed under Cyprus, because the winds were contrary. 27:5 And when we had sailed over the sea of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia. 27:6 And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and he put us therein.
The time lost made sailing conditions even worse. With each passing day of autumn, as the cooling atmospheric temperatures interfaced with the still-warm waters of the Mediterranean, "sailing was now dangerous." They nevertheless aimed for Phenice (Phoenix), a "haven of Crete," where they intended "there to winter." They never made it (Acts 27:13-44).
"27:9 Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them, 27:10 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. 27:11 Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul. 27:12 And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to depart thence also, if by any means they might attain to Phenice, and there to winter; which is an haven of Crete, and lieth toward the south west and north west." (Acts 27:9-12 KJV)