40 feet? No problem. Take your time and smell the roses. take a 70-mile run to Cedar Keyand anchor overnight before setting off to either Steinhatchee or Dog Island (80 or 110 statute miles respectively). Once you hit hit Dog Island Pass you can go up to Carrabelle then meander over to Apalachicola before cruising up the Apalachicola River travel through Lake Wimico and thence down the Gulf Cutoff Canal to Port Saint Joe before taking to the outside again to make an idyllic anchorage at Crooked Island Sound about a dozen miles up the coast. Another dozen miles puts you at the St Andrew Bay pass into the Panama City area.
You can cross the Big Bend area any time of year, but some times of year, you have to wait for your weather window longer. We like the early spring and fall before the fronts begin to run through the area every 3-5 days.
FROLIC (2005 MainShip 30 Pilot II)
Panama City area