The Thrilling Conclusion:
All Anchors Accounted For
by Bob Cornuke
In last month's article, I continued the story of my search for the other
anchors from Paul's shipwreck, the ones which remained on the ship when it
crashed on the reef as described in Acts 27, and I began to recount my
interview with the man who located two ancient anchors inside the Munxar Reef on
[In the June 2003 issue of Personal UPDATEI recounted the search and
discovery of the four anchors that were "cast from the stern" during the storm
The Munxar Reef trailed out to sea a mile and a half. The four anchors were
dropped at the outer tip of the reef and the ship then sailed toward the bay,
but they first had to go through the waves crashing over the Munxar. In other
words, one could reasonably expect to find at least two additional Roman-style
anchors (stored in the bow) in much shallower water closer to shore, between
where the four anchors were deployed and the fatal reef that ultimately shredded
and sank the ship.
After the man told me he had found two anchors in about ten meters (30 feet)
of water, I pulled a nautical map from my pocket and asked him to pinpoint the
"It was eight years ago," he said, "but I know it was definitely in the inner
part of the Munxar."
The place he pointed to on the map lay about two hundred or three hundred
feet from the spot where I had earlier estimated Paul's ship crashed on the
reef. From the site where the four anchors were cut loose on the outer Munxar,
it sat a little over three thousand feet in toward the shore in a direct line on
the inner reef. Most importantly, he said he found the two anchors at the
shallow break in the Munxar Reef, known today as the Munxar Pass. This "pass"
would have been the ship's only chance of survival in its desperate attempt to
make it to the bay, which was just beyond the inner reef. So it made sense that
the sailors would have tried to sail to shore through the small slit in the
His story squared with the rough calculations I had made two nights earlier.
I listened in earnest as the man told me he had heard of my speaking in churches
about the Bible; he said he had come offering the information solely to assist
in my efforts to tell the whole story.
"When I heard about all of your research, and how the Munxar lay where the
two seas meet," he continued softly, "I couldn't help thinking how all those
scholars, all those experts, deciding years ago that the shipwreck occurred in
St. Paul's Bay. And they are wrong. I believe you have found the true location
of the shipwreck of Paul. I don't know if what I'm telling you will help you or
not, but I'm giving you this information, wanting nothing in return." He paused
a moment, then added, "I am a religious man, I go to Mass, and I felt I needed
to tell you so you could write in your book and speak to many people about the
truth of Paul's shipwreck."
"Where are those two anchors today?" I asked, thinking there might be a
remote chance of actually seeing the anchors and dating them to the same Roman
epoch as the other four.
"I have children," he said, as he bowed his head in a somewhat embarrassed
manner. "I sold the anchors for money. I am not proud of this, but this is the
way of it. Life is expensive these days, and the fish...a lot of them are gone.
It's hard to make a living."
The man turned and rose from the table. Our brief meeting was already over.
He had told me everything he knew, and it clearly fit the Biblical narrative. We
shook hands and he left as he had come, walking down the dark street, wet with
Later that evening, as I reflected on our conversation, I replayed in my mind
Luke's detailed description of two separate but connected incidents involving
the ship's anchors. When the crew had dropped the four anchors from the stern,
putting a hard brake on the ship's irresistible crash course toward the reef,
another group of frightened sailors had perpetuated their own panicked intrigue.
In their failed attempt to flee from the ship, they pretended to lower the
forward bow anchors; instead, they ended up casting the lifeboat out to sea.
I found it astonishing that Paul, a prisoner on board, discerned everything
and exposed the crew's plot to the centurion, warning him that, "Unless these
men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved." He knew that every sailor would be
required to steer that big ship through the treacherous waters where the two
seas met if they had any chance of reaching the safety of the bay.
And we all know the rest of the story: the ship perished in the violent waves
on the reef; the entire crew swam to shore safely; Paul and Luke went on to
spread the Good News to a waiting world; and, the anchors found their grave in
the sand and rocks on the outer waters and the shallows of the inner Munxar
Reef, lost to history for more than nineteen centuries.
My purpose ended there as well. I had followed the trail of the anchors to
its outermost reaches and they, in turn, had spoken to me in soft, whispered
secrets from the deep. All that remained was to say thank you to a new family of
friends, bid farewell to exquisite Malta, and return home.
* * *
This article was excerpted from Bob Cornuke's amazing
adventure, The Lost Shipwreck of Paul.
who want to experience the thrill of discovery firsthand, check out our cruise
to Malta, where we'll visit the actual site of Paul's shipwreck in the
shallows of the inner Munxar Reef!
RELATED ARTICLES FROM KOINONIA HOUSE