A typhoon-ish wind

In the account of Paul's sea-voyage to Rome, the ship is struck by a violent wind (Gk. anemas tuphonikos) hurled from the land (feel the echo of Jonah 1:4). Luke musters a rare and technical term to describe it: it is an eurakulon, a "Nor'easter" (alert: odd words like this are targets for editorial glosses or "updates," hence, some ancient manuscripts offer alternative readings, like euroclydon, a "Greece-gale," or euraquilo, a Greek-Latin hybrid meaning "east northeast wind"). Whatever the word choice, it is likely a local event brought on by the engagement of a low pressure storm, the land mass of Crete, and the open sea.

Unable to resist the force of this wind, control of the ship is surrendered (Acts 27:14-15). One can only imagine the terror that ensued among sailors and passengers alike. A.T. Robertson suggests it is as if "the ship were seized by a great monster" (see source here). 

Winter storms have doomed many a ship on the Mediterranean. For this reason sailing was a seasonal activity in antiquity. One would not dare into the deep in the months between November and March. As the story of Acts 27 demonstrates, the consequences of this folly could be catastrophic.

I shot this sunset in 2012 not from a beach in Crete, but from a beach in Netanya, Israel. A winter squall had just passed. I was later told that this was the worst storm they had seen that season.