Navigating through this narrow passage is interesting and exciting. Dugi otok is on your right side, and Katina island on your left.
Oh, by the way, Mala means small. There is Vela (big) Proversa passage on the other side between Katina and Kornat. It is a bit longer and wider, but shallower than Mala!
Of course, you have to use maps for navigation, not road or tourist maps.
Without your own transport, you can cover large distances of Dugi otok by bus which connects main villages and towns from ports and is run by Liburnija company. Unfortunatelly this is not the most flexible way to get to know the island and beside, the bus lines are divided into two who run both different sides of island and as I understood without connecting Dugi otok between its Northwestern (Veli rat) and Southeastern (Sali, Telašćica) part with one single line.
Therefore you got (according to their web site) Brbinj - Veli rat connection for Northern section of Dugi otok, depratures three times (during the season) daily related with arrivals of ferry from Zadar.
Second connection runs between Sali and Luka (Zaglav), three or 4 times daily.
Take a look at the below site for updated information on buses.
Better than relying on buses and especially if you want to get off the main road to beaches is to rent something - bicycle or motorbike, or even boat. There is no public transport that will take you to Veli zal from the main road. I also suggest renting a motorbike to travel between Veli Rat and Telašćica. Except for more cars after ferry arrives to Brbinj there's no dense traffic anyways and driving (or cycling) is fine.
Like to other islands, transport to Dugi otok is carried by Jadrolinija and there are both ferries if you go by car or bike, or catamaran for foot passenger.
Ferry station is in centre of Zadar, next to Jadrolinija office by the big parking place along the city walls at peninsula - if you're comming by car then all you need is to follow the signs for centre/ferry, it's very easy. There are three or so departures daily, the port at Dugi otok will be Brbinj, which is somehwat the middle od Dugi otok. It is 1 hr 20 min ride one way.
Catamarans are faster and drive to Božava (Zverinac) and Sali (Zaglav) in about 45 minutes drive. If you are on foot and like central location of Dugi otok, then you can still take ferry and then continue by local bus to the northwestern side. Bikes are not allowed on catamarans, unless exceptionally.
If you're early in Zadar, leave the car in the line to Dugi otok after you bought tickets and while you're waiting you can take a stroll in city or do some shopping at market, which is good if you're thinking on more improvised holidays as stuff to buy on island is more expensive.
Upadated prices and schedules are available at Jadrolinija site below.