Hundreds of people gathered along False Creek yesterday — cellphone cameras at the ready — searching for an elusive grey whale that flirted among the water taxis and kayaks in the busy urban waterway.

The unexpected tourist was first spotted at 11 a.m. by a jogger on the Stanley Park seawall near Siwash Rock and entered False Creek shortly thereafter.

It made its way up the small inlet to Science World and circled about, surfacing occasionally with a great spray of mist.

Caitlin Birdsall, a research assistant with the B.C. Cetacean Sighting Network, said it’s likely the large whale made a “bit of a wrong turn” in its northward migration from Baja to the Bering Sea.

“It’s pretty rare to see cetaceans in False Creek,” Birdsall said. “But we do get dolphins, whales and porpoises that do come into English Bay.”

She said grey whale “pit stops” are not uncommon in places like Boundary Bay.

Julia Marchesi, a deckhand on an Aquabus taxi, said one of the company’s operators first spotted the whale around 11:40 a.m., just off Granville Island.

A Coast Guard fast rescue craft and a Vancouver police zodiac kept whale watchers in other boats at a distance.

By 3 p.m. the whale was out past Vanier Park and headed for open waters.

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