When thinking about frightening sea-stories Joppa (Jaffa, Yafo), Israel, may not be the first spot that comes to mind. Certainly it looks tranquil in this picture of fishermen on the seawall (with modern Tel Aviv in the distance).
But consider these three stories.
1. Most folk know what happened to the prophet Jonah. Do you realize that his adventure began with a disobedient descent from here? He went down to Joppa. Then he went down into a ship. Eventually he went down into the deep drink. There, the big fish turned out to be his submarine rescuer. Catch Jonah 1 here.
2. A terrible sea-story about Joppa is found in 2 Maccabees 12 (see the text here). According to this account from the intertestamental period, tension between the Jews and their neighbors came to a head. The people of Joppa asked their Jewish neighbors to go sailing with them. Since all the Jews of the town were invited, they did not suspect it was a cruel plot. Once at sea, the Jews were thrown overboard. A total of 200 people drowned. Just so you know, 2 Maccabees is full of such awfulness.
3. The Roman army invaded the Heartland in AD 67 to quell a Jewish revolt. Under the leadership of Vespasian, the Romans captured Joppa and put the pirates who were hiding in its ruins to flight. Because the pirates had no place to go by foot, they fled by boats into the sea. This turned out to be their undoing. Due to Joppa's rocky shore and a "black north wind" the Jewish rebels were judged by God himself. The terrible wind smashed their boats against each other and ground them to bits. Those that survived were driven on the rocks. 4,200 people perished, some by the sea, some by the rocks, some by the Romans, and some by their own hands (as rebels seem to be rather fond of suicide according to Josephus). See the text of his Jewish War III.9.3 here.
See some of our other posts about Joppa here and here.