Bk III:638-691 Acoetes's ship and crew are transformed.
The treacherous men swore, by the sea and all the gods, it would be so, and told me to get the painted vessel under sail. Naxos was to starboard, but as I trimmed the sails on a starboard tack, they, each one, asked me, "What are you doing, O madman? Acoetes, what craziness has got into you? Take the port tack!" most of them letting me know what they intended with a nod of the head, the others in a whisper. I was horrified. "Someone else can steer," I said, and distanced myself from the wickedness and deception. There were cries against me from all sides, the whole crew murmured against me. And one of them, Aethalion, cried, "You seem to think that all our lives depend on you alone!" Then he took my place himself, discharged my office, and abandoning Naxos took the opposite course.
Then the god, playfully, as though he had just realised their deceit, looked at the sea over the curve of the stern, and as though he were weeping, said, "Sailors, these are not the shores you promised me, and this is not the land I chose for myself? What have I done to merit punishment? Where's the glory in men cheating a boy, or many cheating just one?" I was already weeping, but the impious crew laughed at my tears, and drove the ship quickly through the water.
Now I swear by the god himself (since there is no god more certainly present than he is) that what I say to you is the truth, though that truth beggars belief. The ship stands still in the waves, just as if it were held in dry dock. Amazed, the crew keep flogging away at the oars, and unfurling the sails, try to run on with double power. But ivy impedes the oars, creeping upwards, with binding tendrils, and drapes the sails with heavy clusters. The god himself waves a rod twined with vine leaves, his forehead wreathed with bunches of grapes. Around him lie insubstantial phantom lynxes, tigers, and the savage bodies of spotted panthers. The men leap overboard, driven to it either by madness or by fear. And Medon is the first to darken all over his body, and his spine to be bent into an arched curve.
Lycabas cries out to him, "What monster are you turning into?" And in speaking his jaws widen, his nose becomes hooked, and his skin becomes hard and scaly. But Libys hampered when he wishes to turn the oars sees his hands shrink suddenly in size, and now they are not hands, but can only be called fins. Another, eager to grasp at the tangled ropes, no longer has arms, and goes arching backwards limbless into the sea. His newest feature is a scythe-shaped tail, like the curved horns of a fragmentary moon. The dolphins leap everywhere drenched with spray. They emerge once more, only to return again to the depths, playing together as if they were in a troupe, throwing their bodies around wantonly, and blowing out the seawater drawn in through their broad nostrils.
Of a group of twenty (that was how many the ship carried), I alone was left. The god roused me with difficulty, my body shaking with cold and terror, and barely myself, saying, "Free your heart from fear, and hold off for Naxos!" And consigned to that island, I have adopted its religion and celebrate the Bacchic rites.