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Images: The Roiling New River Inlet

Peter Traykovski, a scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, outfitted a catamaran kayak with scientific equipment to survey the ever-shifting sands of the New River Inlet in North Carolina. His work this spring was funded by the Office of Naval Research as part of a five-year effort involving dozens of researchers to better understand and predict waves, currents, and the movement of sediments at the mouths of tidal inlets. (Rocky Geyer, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Traykovski equipped his catamaran kayak with two types of sonar and a high-resolution GPS. On a screen in front of him, he could track sonar images of the sand patterns below him. (Peter Traykovski, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Traversing the inlet channel in his kayak-turned-research-vehicle, Traykovski captured precisely located sonar images of seabed sand patterns in the New River Inlet. (Peter Traykovski, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Traykovski also deployed underwater devices he called “quadpods” in the inlet. These 7-foot-tall, four-footed frames were equipped with current meters to measure water flow and turbulence and downward-aimed sonars trained on 108 square feet of sand. The sonar images, taken every 30 minutes, showed details of how and why sand moves back and forth as tides and currents move over it. (Peter Traykovski, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

WHOI scientists Steve Elgar (in yellow) and Britt Raubenheimer (on shore with her guide dog Whit) use a 1950s-era amphibious vehicle to fasten arrays of sensors on a sandy seabed to measure waves, currents, the water’s turbidity, and other features throughout the New River Inlet. They battled breaking waves and currents as fast as 3 knots. ( David Clark, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

Scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography dispensed harmless pink dye into the New River Inlet to reveal how water flowed and dispersed. (Courtesy Scripps Institution of Oceanography)