Otis Haughton is a master raftsman

May 29, 2018
Bamboo rafter Otis Haughton on his raft with guests at Chukka Lethe Tours.
Bamboo rafter Otis Haughton.

For more than 34 years, Otis Haughton of Lethe has been sailing his bamboo raft on the Great River in Hanover. He is among the dozens of rafters offering a mountain valley bamboo rafting experience to tourists under the Chukka brand in Lethe.

"I born and grew up around here in Lethe. I use to come on the river and catch crayfish for home use, then I started to get interested in rafting," Haughton told WESTERN STAR.

"I use to see my friends and people making bamboo rafts and sailing out on the river, and I just jump at it too, seeing as how I can make a better living out of it," he added.

Haughton honed his craft and learnt the channel of the river throughout the years. He is now one of the more seasoned rafters on the river to the delight of his client who he shuttles downstream daily.

"It is not only just about rafting them down. I do pedicure, massage the tourists feet with limestone, feed them sugar cane and jelly, which they drink using bamboo straw. It's a combo tour," the rafter explained.

Building a bamboo raft also comes easy for the self-taught Haughton whose cotton bamboo raft is of the right size and length.

"I would encourage anyone to try their hand at rafting because it is a great way to make a living and it is a skill that can also be taught," said Haughton.

"Right now is slow season but despite that, business is still booming. I love rafting and it will always love me."

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