Travels with S/Y Thetis

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Thetis 2021: Kalami House Earthquake Proofing

This web page contains a description of the work done to re-enforce and make earthquake proof our approximately 250 year old house in Kalami, a suburb of the city of Samos Town in the Aegean island of Samos.

This kind of an isolated country house was called Πύργος - Pyrgos meaning “tower” because houses like it were built to be defendable from pirates. Originally there were no doors on the ground floor, which was built with thick stones. The owners entered the 2nd floor with a retractable ladder and the ground floor with an interior staircase. Over the years our house, like most houses like it, had been modified and made more livable.

On 30 October 2020 there was a force 7 earthquake in Samos. Many older houses on the island were severely damaged and one boy was killed. I had already left the island. Our caretaker Yiorgos Hadzipanayiotis who lives up the hill called a civil engineer to inspect both his and our house. Neither house had suffered any damage.

On September 18, 2021 at 02:45:31 there was an earthquake of a magnitude 3.5 on the Richter scale with its epicenter 219.3 km NE from Samos. I felt it. A few days after the earthquake I noticed several cracks on the outside stone walls of the ground floor. Again, we called the civil engineer and after peeling some plaster near the cracks he said that there could be some structural damage and the walls around the lower part of the house need to be re-enforced.

The Cracks

The Sea Side (E)


The S Side

In the Dining Room
In the Bedroom (2d floor)

About 8 years ago the same engineer advised us to reenforce the front of the house and we did so under Yiorgos’s supervision. Now he said that this was very good and actually now it prevented any serious damage. But following the two recent earthquakes, there was risk of the cracks expanding, potentially leading to major damage.

Following this we decided to go ahead with the support work. Lokking at the diagram “Avli” is the porch and “Seirli” is the house of our ex neighbors, now belonging to Corinna.

The Support Work
Re enforcement2

SE Corner


NE Corner

FrontIronRods jpg

Front with rods


Porch with rods


S Foundation with Concrete


Porch with foundation

Porch finished concrete
Front and S side
Front & S side finished concrete

Now what remains is to paint the new concrete, repair the windows, repair the porch (avli), and re-plaster the walls where needed.